President Barack Obama drew a sharp line between himself and GOP opponent Mitt Romney on federally funded abortion rights Tuesday, arguing that federal funding of Planned Parenthood is necessary to preserve his daughters' right to chose.
Addressing a crowd of over 900 supporters at the Oregon Convention Center, he asserted: "Mr. Romney wants to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood. I think that's a bad idea. I've got two daughters. I want to control their own health care choices."
Also on Tuesday the Obama administration awarded $426,000 in federal grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates in North Carolina. Earlier this year the North Carolina legislature passed a budget adjustment bill that redirected $343,000 away from Planned Parenthood and to county health departments that provide comprehensive care for women.
Pro-life activists argue the issue is not about choice, it's about whether the government should fund abortion clinics. "It appears to me that President Obama is not concerned so much with his daughters having options as much as he just wants the rest of us to pay for it," Penny Nance of Concerned Women of for America told CP. She asserted Obama's comments speak more to pubic funding for abortion than about health care options for women – adding in the absence of Planned Parenthood there would still be numerous places women can get mammograms and ob-gyn services.
Always controversial, Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, has been under increasing pressure this year as several Republican controlled state legislatures have cut or reduced funding. The most recent example is North Carolina, which has become a battleground and must-win state for Obama.
Pro-life advocates charge that the federal grants are little more than a political maneuver to counter GOP-controlled legislatures who have sought to transfer public tax dollars to providers who offer women's health services but not abortions.
"Yesterday President Obama said he supports Planned Parenthood because he wants his two daughters to be able to 'control their own health care choices.' This morning we find that he once again is using euphemisms like 'choice' and 'control' to trample the rights of states and force pro-life taxpayers to fund the abortion business," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a written statement.
"President Obama's decision to overrule the North Carolina legislature today marks the third time this month – and the fifth time in the last year – that he has stepped in to contract directly with the nation's largest abortion provider," according to Dannenfelser.
Planned Parenthood is under even more scrutiny by opponents after a woman who was in her second trimester died from hemorrhaging in Chicago last Friday after a Planned Parenthood clinic abortion. Tonya Reaves, 24, was engaged to be married and also had a one-year-old son.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) has called for a probe of Planned Parenthood after declaring the response given by the abortion provider to be unsatisfactory. It isn't the first time Stearns and Planned Parenthood have locked horns over how they refer patients to outside clinics or how they allocate their resources.
"I would like to find out how they spend our half a billion dollars, and I would also like to explore some of the safety aspects, particularly in light of this death, of this tragedy," he told Fox News.