Obama Cancels Keynote Speech at Planned Parenthood Gala

Warning: graphic material in following article.

Pro-life groups won a minor victory following White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's announcement that the president will not be the keynote speaker at Planned Parenthood's annual gala Thursday at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.

U.S. President Barack Obama walks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, April 15, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama walks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, April 15, 2013. | (Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Obama and the First Lady will instead attend a memorial service in West, Texas, for those who died last week in the fertilizer plant explosion.

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During Wednesday's press briefing Carney told reporters that Obama will, however, speak at the Planned Parenthood national conference on Friday morning.

The organization spent $4 million on the president's 2008 campaign and $15 million on political ad campaigns to support his re-election, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that tracks data on political spending.

"We are honored to have President Obama join us ... at this pivotal moment for women's health," said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in an earlier statement.

The notion that Planned Parenthood provides quality health care to women is coming under fire from organizations that view it as a billion dollar abortion business that is bilking taxpayers out of millions every year.

"Planned Parenthood is the nation's number one abortion provider, having received in 2011 a record $542 million in tax dollars under the policies of the Obama administration," said Lila Rose, president of Live Action a pro-life nonprofit organization, in a statement to CP.

"Over the past few weeks, we've heard the brutal details of the slaughter of innocent human beings that goes on within the walls of many abortion clinics, including Gosnell's 'House of Horrors' in Philadelphia and the 'meat market assembly-line' Planned Parenthood of Delaware."

Commenting on Obama's change of plans, Rose stated: "President Obama swapping a Planned Parenthood fundraising gala Thursday night for an address on Friday shows that while he is certainly willing to avoid a photo of him at an abortion party while the nation mourns, he still refuses to distance himself from the nation's number one abortion provider and an industry that preys on women and defenseless children as exposed through the Gosnell trial and other atrocities."

On April 16, Gloria Steinem was the keynote speaker for a sold-out crowd of 500 at the Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania's spring gala. Before the event, Dayle Steinberg, the president and CEO of PPSP, told Steinem that the organization knew about the horrors of Gosnell's illegal late-term abortion clinic, but didn't report him to authorities.

"Steinberg said that when Gosnell was in practice, women would sometimes come to Planned Parenthood for services after first visiting Gosnell's West Philadelphia clinic, and would complain to staff about the conditions there. 'We would always encourage them to report it to the Department of Health,'" reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal recently reported on Gosnell's longtime partnership with Planned Parenthood and described the abortionist's role in the 1972 Mother's Day Massacre, when 15 pregnant women were bussed from Chicago to Philadelphia to have late-term abortions performed by Gosnell and Harvey Karman, who served two years in prison for performing abortions without having a medical license.

Taranto's column describes the device Karman and Gosnell used on the Chicago women as the same device the former used on women in Bangladesh when he traveled there under sponsorship from the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

"… basically plastic razors that were formed into a ball. ... They were coated into a gel, so that they would remain closed. These would be inserted into the woman's uterus. And after several hours of body temperature, ... the gel would melt and these ... things would spring open, supposedly cutting up the fetus."

"As in Bangladesh, the Philadelphia experiment was a failure. Nine of the 15 women suffered serious complications. One needed a hysterectomy," Taranto reports.

Mallory Quigley, communications director for the Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit group that supports pro-life policies and candidates, said the organization is not surprised to learn that Obama will be speaking at Planned Parenthood's national conference since the organization is one of his financial backers.

She told CP on Tuesday that the conditions in Gosnell's clinic are typical of what can be found in abortion clinics across the nation. "The Gosnell case just scratches the surface. It's beyond disingenuous for Planned Parenthood to say Gosnell's clinic is an outlier when they and the National Abortion Federation admitted to knowing about the conditions of his clinic."

Quigley added that if Planned Parenthood was concerned about women's health, they wouldn't fight legislation that requires women's medical facilities to make health and safety improvements.

"The clinic regulations in Pennsylvania, for example, really are common ground," Quigley said. "Even a Democratic legislator spoke in support of the regulations because her cousin died as a result of having an abortion at Gosnell's clinic."

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