Mitt Romney told a Missouri television interviewer today that he would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
"Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that," he said.
In context, he appears to be talking about ending federal funding for the giant health care provider and abortion rights lobby, a position he staked out last fall and a litmus test for anti-abortion activists who have made the group their top target.
"The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?" Romney said of federal programs. "And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that's the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrack, I'd eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities."
Romney's words, and his tone, are likely to resurface this fall as President Obama seeks to drive a wedge deeper between women and the Republican Party. A series of polls have found that voters in general, and female voters in particular, are skeptical of cutting off funding to the group, which is the nation's largest provider of abortions, but which has also provided other health care and birth control services to many American women.
UPDATE: Planned Parenthood Action Fund's Dawn Laguens responds:
When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want.
Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health. He supports so-called "personhood laws, opposes making birth control affordable and accessible, and wants to undermine women's health care.
Americans want a president who values and protects women's health, not one that plays politics with women’s health.