(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
President Obama has received the endorsement of the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, as the group announced a $1.4 million ad buy aimed at derailing the campaign of the presumed GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.
The television campaign, called "just wrong for women," will initially target the three swing areas around West Palm Beach, Fla., Des Moines, Iowa, and the heavily populated sections of Northern Virginia that include the nation's capital.
The ad specifically mentions Romney's plans to cut funding for the abortion giant when it features Romney saying, "Planned Parenthood – we're gonna get rid of that." "Romney is saying he'll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on," the narrator says.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards took the opportunity to paint Romney as an "extremist" and someone that is out of touch with women. "Particularly in this presidential election, it's astonishing to see Mitt Romney take positions that are so far, so extreme. I think it shows how out of touch he is with women in this country."
But Richards' comment comes as no surprise to pro-life leaders who are determined to see that federal and state funds are withheld from the group.
"Being called out of touch by Cecile Richards is like being called ugly by a frog," said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America. "All of this hoopla they are creating doesn't get one extra vote for President Obama. They're doing what they have to do to stay in the good graces of the president and with liberals in Congress."
The group's endorsement of Obama also comes as no surprise given that Democrats are traditionally more supportive of abortion than Republicans and, according to recent poll, the majority of Americans. But the overriding issue Planned Parenthood may be the most concerned about is the potential loss of federal funding if Romney is elected.
"There is no greater champion for women's health than President Obama, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund couldn't be prouder to endorse his reelection as president today," said Richards. "The contrast with Mitt Romney couldn't be starker. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to ensuring that voters know how wrong Mitt Romney is for women – in his own words."
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has indicated that if elected he would end the $360 million in federal and state funding the group receives to perform nearly a quarter of all abortions in the U.S.
Planned Parenthood has only endorsed a candidate in three previous presidential campaigns, but the group has become increasingly more active in campaigns since Republicans gained control of the House two years ago. Planned Parenthood has termed the GOP's stance in reducing federal funding as a "war on women."
In his early years as governor of Massachusetts, Romney considered himself a supporter of abortion rights but has since changed his position saying that abortion should only be legal in the cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. He also now says he believes life begins at conception.