POLITICS

Planned Parenthood’s Obama rally reveals a lot

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Women dressed as vaginas milled about the parking lot of the NASCAR Hall of Fame where the old and young alike grabbed up the free Planned Parenthood condoms while an emcee dressed as a birth-control dispenser led the crowd in chants.

Abortion provider and lobbying powerhouse Planned Parenthood held a rally for Obama just outside the convention center Tuesday afternoon, and it highlighted a few important themes: (1) the centrality of abortion in the Democratic Party, (2) the extremeness of the party’s abortion position, and (3) the rank deception at the heart of the party’s war-on-women talk.

The event’s main emcee, actress and Planned Parenthood board member Aisha Tyler recounted an episode (covered here, by the New York Times) that showed how the abortion lobby is at the bedrock of Obama’s Democratic Party. During the 2011 debt-ceiling debate House Speaker John Boehner visited the White House late in the negotiations, and when he brought up cuts to Planned Parenthood subsidies, as Tyler put it, Obama said “This is a non-starter. You will get nowhere with this.”

Obama was willing to default on the U.S. debt over subsidies for Planned Parenthood.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards both cited the pro-choice plank in the Democrats’ platform. The Dems’ platform is pretty extreme on abortion, calling for abortion subsidies (“access to affordable family planning services”, and the right to abortion “regardless of ability to pay”).

“We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right,” the platform say. That means they oppose even rules restricting late-term abortions, requiring parental notification when minors are aborting their children. In the past, Obama showed he has a pretty extreme view of what might “weaken” the “right” to abortion. As a state senator, Obama opposed legislation to require hospitals to care for babies who survive abortion. His reasoning: he thought it might erode the right to abortion.

Finally, the rally highlighted how dishonest the war-on-women rhetoric is. Opposing — or simply wanting to limit — Planned Parenthood subsidies was portrayed as wanting to abolish the organization. And opposing mandatory contraception coverage was portrayed as banning contraception.

Tyler said Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan “want to make sure birth control isn’t covered by health insurance.”

Richards asked “Can you believe we’re fighting in 2012 over the right of women in America to get birth control?” Then she added, “that’s exactly what this election is about.”

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, D-Wisc., said Republicans are “trying to take away Planned Parenthood.” Moore added that one issue this election is “whether or not you can have contraception.”

This all says something about the state of the pro-choice movement — and thus the state of the Democratic Party.

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