By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.
In all the atmospherics last month surrounding Hillary Clinton’s official announcement that she was running for president, it is understandable if you might have missed the congratulatory release issued by Planned Parenthood’s political arm.
On the same day that the former Secretary of State announced her candidacy, Planned Parenthood issued a release “Planned Parenthood Action Fund Welcomes Hillary Rodham Clinton to Presidential Field” (4/12/15). The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) is the Planned Parenthood entity which endorses and supports candidates in political campaigns.
PPAF “hailed” Clinton’s announcement. “There has not been a candidate for president with a stronger commitment to women or a clearer record on behalf of women’s health and rights,” gushed Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards.
What are these “issues that matter deeply to women?” That would be the usual “access to preventative health care, affordable birth control,” and, of course, “access to safe and legal abortion.”
The release notes that Hillary had a 100% record on the PPAF congressional scorecard for every year she was a U.S. Senator, “in stark contrast to the GOP presidential contenders so far who have records of trying to restrict access to safe and legal abortion.”
In the Senate, Clinton “beat back attacks on safe and legal abortion,” PPAF said, and worked “to ensure low-income women and those serving in the military had access to abortion”
PPAF says “Clinton has long fought for access to safe and legal abortion.” PPAF approvingly quotes her testimony at a 4/22/09 hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in which she declared “Family planning is an important part of women’s health, and reproductive health includes access to abortion”
The Clintons and Planned Parenthood obviously have a long history. PPFA was grateful that husband Bill, who took office in 1993 as “the first pro-choice president in 12 years,” repealed a lot of pro-life policies put in place during the Reagan years, pushed the abortion pill through the government approval process, and kept the partial-birth abortion ban from becoming law.
Back in 1999, Planned Parenthood endorsed Mrs. Clinton for Senate in New York. Planned Parenthood backed her as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term, and gave her the group’s Margaret Sanger Award in 2009.
Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2012 it committed $700,000 to “empowering a cadre of youth leaders and peer providers” in the U.S., Tanzania, and Peru “to combat the vulnerability of youth to unintended pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV/AIDS and other STDs, and cultural taboos around age and sexuality.”
With all that, the April 12 congratulatory statement by PPAF was hardly a surprise. Nor was the presence of a Planned Parenthood operative at Hilary Clinton’s first official campaign visit to Iowa.
The statement by PPAF isn’t an official endorsement, but the message is quite clear – Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood are old, close political friends with very similar views and goals.
And wherever you find one, there’s a good chance you’ll see the other.