Mitt Romney is doubling down on his commitment to defund Planned Parenthood, telling a reporter in Missouri that he would “get rid of” the country’s best-known reproductive health care provider if he were elected president.
In an outdoor interview with Ann Rubin of KSDK.com, Romney offered a few suggestions on how he would cut the deficit.
“Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others,” he said. “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”
Planned Parenthood responded to Romney’s comments on Tuesday, characterizing them as dangerous and out of step with what Americans want.
“When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care,” said Dawn Laguens, Vice President for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a written statement. “Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health.”
Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom downplayed the comments on CNN Tuesday night, saying the former Massachusetts governor was talking about cutting federal funding only.
“It would not be getting rid of the organization,” Fehrnstrom said. “We’re going to have to make some tough decisions about spending. The test that Mitt Romney will apply is, is this program so worthwhile and valuable that we’ll borrow money from China to [fund] it?”
Romney has said repeatedly he wants to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortion services.
In February, he weighed in on the Susan G. Komen controversy, saying he agreed with their now-reversed decision to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding for breast-cancer screenings.
Romney faces an uphill battle convincing conservatives of his anti-abortion stance. His path from pro-choice to anti-abortion has been heavily reported by the media and emphasized by his GOP competitors.
In 2002, he sought Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts’ endorsement during his campaign for governor, and continued to support abortion rights until 2005, when he publicly came out as anti-abortion.