In a recent NBC Channel 12 interview, President Barack Obama praised Planned Parenthood's work and suggested that pro-life videos implicating the abortion provider of cover ups were "manufactured."
Obama expressed pro-choice sentiments during a Richmond, Va. television interview. The interviewer asked the president to comment on videos made by youth-led group Live Action, and Republicans' efforts to defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Obama responded by pointing to other issues that he contended deserved more attention. He also questioned the authenticity of the Live Action videos.
"I think some of these issues get manufactured and they get a lot of attention on the blogosphere," Obama responded. "I think that Planned Parenthood, in the past, has done good work."
He suggested national problems such as jobs and the economy be addressed instead of focusing on abortion.
The president's comments were taped last week when House Republicans were working to pass an amendment to the spending proposal that would completely defund PPFA.
During the Thursday testimony session, GOP representatives persuaded House members to vote for the amendment by referencing the videos.
Amendment author Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) rehashed the abortion provider's past indiscretions.
"The headlines and years of investigations speak for themselves. In 2002, Parenthood was found civilly liable in Arizona for failure to report statutory rape. In 2008 it violated reporting laws in Indiana and California. In 2009 it instructed a girl in Tennessee to lie about her age so she could get an abortion without her parents' knowledge," he stated.
Pence also described the undercover Live Action videos that show branch employees in various states, including Virginia, give advice to a self-proclaimed pimp and prostitute.
Pence concluded, "As the father of two teenage daughters, there are not words strong enough to portray my contempt of this pattern of apparent fraud and abuse by Planned Parenthood."
PPFA President Cecile Richards has denounced the videos saying they were edited to damage the group's reputation. PPFA officials also said staff simply answered the actors' questions and reported the encounters afterwards.
Some pro-lifers have also questioned Live Action's methods. In the Catholic legal theory blog, Mirror of Justice, the writer of a Feb. 15 post questions whether the apprehensible actions of Planned Parenthood justify having actors lie to expose the truth.
The writer concludes, "A culture of life can only be built on a foundation of truth. Lying may produce short term victories, but it will, in the end, frustrate our long term objective."
Still, House representatives approved the amendment to cut all federal funding to the nation's largest abortion provider on Friday. On Saturday, Congress members passed the spending bill that includes the amendment to defund PPFA.
Pro-life groups heralded the vote as a victory for the preborn. The National Black Pro-life Union praised Pence in a statement released today.
"I want to thank you for your efforts to defund Planned Parenthood," stated Day Gardner, NBPLU president. "This great news is especially important to members of the black community as we celebrate Black History Month."
Sidewalk counseling group 40 Days for Life celebrated the newly passed bill Friday with, "You Did It," emails to supporters. The group partnered with Live Action founder Lila Rose to lobby Congress.
After the Friday vote, PPFA released a letter entitled, "How Could You?"
"Your vote was not only against those who seek care at Planned Parenthood health centers, but against every one of us who has ever sought care there, and against every one of us who knows that when we are healthy, when we are in charge of our lives, we thrive," the letter read.
Obama's past comments have revealed him to be pro-choice.
In a January speech marking the 38th anniversary of Roe v Wade, he said, "the Supreme Court decision that protects women's health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters."
In the recent NBC interview, Obama asked politicians not be "distracted" by the abortion issue.
The approved House spending bill with the anti-Planned Parenthood amendment inside is headed to the Senate. The bill will likely meet resistance in the Democrat-controlled chamber.
House Republicans also have another bill in committee to stop all abortion providers from receiving federal funds through the Title X program. There is no word when it will be voted on.