President Barack Obama has praised Planned Parenthood while lambasting its pro-life critics at the pro-choice group's national conference in Washington D.C., ending his prepared remarks with seeking God's blessing upon the organization.
"For nearly a century now, one core principle has guided everything all of you do -- that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health," Obama said at the Planned Parenthood Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on Friday. After applause, the president added, "It's a simple principle."
Obama said he was grateful for the services provided by the group, which, critics say, is the number one abortion business in the United States, performing almost 335,000 abortions annually.
"I want to thank all of you for the remarkable work that you're doing day in, day out in providing quality health care to women all across America," the president said. "You are somebody that women -- young women, old women, women in between -- count on for so many important services. And we are truly grateful to you."
Obama also highlighted that Planned Parenthood saves lives despite critics blasting the organization for killing thousands of unborn babies every year through its abortion services.
Obama said, "Somewhere there's a woman who just received a new lease on life because of a screening that you provided that helped catch her cancer in time. Somewhere there's a woman who's breathing easier today because of the support and counseling she got at her local Planned Parenthood health clinic. Somewhere there's a young woman starting a career who, because of you, is able to decide for herself when she wants to start a family."
The president also strongly attacked critics of the organization.
"So when politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag, they're not just talking about you; they're talking about the millions of women who you serve. And when they talk about cutting off your funding, let's be clear: They're talking about telling many of those women, you're on your own," Obama said. "They're talking about shutting those women out at a time when they may need it most -- shutting off communities that need more health care options for women, not less."
The fact is, Obama went on to claim, that "after decades of progress, there's still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. And they've been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women's health."
The president mentioned that 42 states have introduced laws "that would ban or severely limit access to a woman's right to choose -- laws that would make it harder for women to get the contraceptive care that they need; laws that would cut off access to cancer screenings and end educational programs that help prevent teen pregnancy..." He called the legislation "absurd." "It's wrong. It's an assault on women's rights... When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar; you want to make sure you're still living in 2013."
Obama made no mention of the late-term abortion provider in Pa., Kermit Gosnell, who ran two abortion practices in Philadelphia, and is accused of killing seven babies who were born alive and one patient who died from an overdose of Demerol that was administered by the clinic's unlicensed staff. His trial resumed recently, and he faces seven counts of first-degree murder and one count of third-degree murder, following deaths at the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic he owned and operated for 40 years in the west Philadelphia neighborhood where he grew up.
Obama added that no matter how great the challenge, "no matter how fierce the opposition," the past few years have shown that "Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It's not going anywhere today. It's not going anywhere tomorrow."
Students for Life of America earlier this month conducted a two-week bus tour on college campuses to "expose" Planned Parenthood.
While receiving $542 million in taxpayer funding, Planned Parenthood made over $150 million in revenue from the 333,965 abortions they performed in just the 2011-2012 fiscal year alone, SFLA President Kristan Hawkins said in a statement. "They are an abortion business, plain and simple."
Research by SFLA has found that 59 percent of 18-24 year olds do not know that Planned Parenthood commits abortions.
The president ended his speech saying, "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you."