Republicans haven't been quite as eager to moralize against contraception after Rush Limbaugh gave voice to their true feelings, but Democrats aren't ready to let their argument that the GOP is waging a war on women slip by the wayside. Mitt Romney, a candidate who rarely seems comfortable when the discussion strays from the economy, is hoping that the issue will become a non-factor once he officially dismisses Rick Santorum and heads to the general election. Barack Obama clearly has a different view. The president issued a new subtle attack yesterday in a video where he directly addresses supporters of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "For you and for most Americans protecting women's health is a mission that stands above politics," Obama says in the two-minute video. "And yet over the past year you've had to stand up to politicians who want to deny millions of women the care they rely on, and inject themselves into decisions that are best made between a woman and her doctor."
The latest flap over providing contraception is just one part of a broader attack on reproductive rights over the past 18 months. Republicans in the House, emboldened by their majority after the 2010 midterms, have made numerous pushes to strip funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization the right has vilified as the worst of abortion providers. One such measure almost derailed negotiations to prevent a government shutdown last year. But while House Republicans have been unsuccessful, conservatives in state governments such as Texas have had greater success in robbing Planned Parenthood of funding.
The prolonged primary also dragged Romney into the controversy. In an interview earlier this month the presumed Republican candidate said he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood. Without naming names, Obama has a direct rebuttal to his probable opponent. "When some professional politicians casually say that they'll 'get rid of Planned Parenthood,' don't forget what they're really talking about: eliminating the funding for preventive care that millions of women rely on, and leaving them to fend for themselves."
Obama's record on reproductive rights isn't quite as steadfast as he would like to present. His administration scorned advocates of women's health when it overturned the FDA's decision to allow over the counter sales of Plan B. And Obama used an executive order to appease pro-life Democrats after the Stupak Amendment was striped from the health care reform bill. Yet in comparison to the Republicans Obama looks like a saint. He closed the video by reminding Planned Parenthood supporters that they'll have a friend in the White House if he's reelected this fall. "I know you'll never stop fighting to protect the health care and choices that America's women deserve," he says. "As long as I have the privilege of being your president, neither will I."
Here's the full video: