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Planned Parenthood Action Fund president touts women's issues for election

BY STACEY MURRAY | OCTOBER 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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The economy. Job creation. Foreign policy. Deficit.  Where do the politicians begin?

Cecile Richards wants them to start with women’s issues.

Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, spoke in Iowa City Thursday to advocate for women’s rights, promote President Obama’s campaign, and discuss Planned Parenthood’s role in this election.

“Women will be the majority of voters in this election,” said Richards, the daughter of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards. “They will determine the election.”

In February, the Susan G. Komen Foundation withdrew its funding of Planned Parenthood, which threatened to shut down the organization, but the cuts were reinstated within a few days.

Richards spoke about several women’s issues and the candidates, including the opposition to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to Romney’s campaign website, he plans to reverse Roe v. Wade and he will only appoint judges who “adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written.”

Richards spoke against this choice while visiting Devotay, 117 N. Linn, Thursday evening.

“We literally could lose 40 years of a Constitutional rights in America if Mitt Romney becomes president,” she said.

Yet according to Romney’s campagin, he doesn’t waver on his stance.

Not only does the presidential candidate hope to overturn the 39-year-old decision, he hopes to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. 

“I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade because it is bad law and bad medicine,” Romney’s campaign website states. “And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.”

This goal doesn’t sit well with Richards.

“This is where I take it personally,” she said.  “Those are fighting words.”

Sharon Blake, a local activist, holds concerns about women’s issues and the Republican actions regarding women’s rights.

“In my view, they would curtail women and their reproductive rights,” she said.

While Richards focused in on reproductive rights and the threat of funding cuts for Planned Parenthood, Romney’s campaign focused on an economic stance for women to support when contacted by The Daily Iowan.

“Mitt Romney won [Wednesday’s] debate because he demonstrated that he is a leader who can work across the aisle to solve problems, create jobs, and turn around our economy,” Alissa Ohl, a Romney campaign spokesperson, said in an emailed statement.  “That’s the big, bold vision women and families are counting on.”

The Romney campaign focused on women and their current position in the economy, rather than commenting on their Planned Parenthood stance.

“The Obama economy has buried women and families,” Ohl said.

UI student Evan Wolfe focuses on the health care available to women — because of his role as a brother.

“My sister is graduating this year,” the 19-year-old said. “And I believe every woman in this country, including her, should have beyond adequate health care.”

If elected, Romney plans to overturn the Affordable Care Act as soon as entering office by issuing an executive order to issue waivers to all 50 states.

Richards and her fellow Obama supporters can’t fathom this move.

“The Affordable Care Act is the most extraordinary expansion of health-care coverage for people this country has ever seen,” she said.

While the two sides can’t seem to agree on a stance in regards to women’s issues, both stress the importance of women in this election.

“It’s going to be critical because it’s a defining difference between the two [candidates],” Richards said.


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