As expected, President Obama went to bat for Planned Parenthood during the October 16 debate with GOP rival Mitt Romney, blasting Romney's campaign rhetoric about defunding the abortion giant with the claim that “there are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings.” Pro-life leaders pointed out that in reality, Planned Parenthood clinics only refer for mammograms, but are not directly involved in the procedure.
Obama went on to claim that “George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, so there are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush.... In some ways, [Romney has] gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy. And I think that’s a mistake.”
But LifeNews.com reported that in the early days of his administration, President Bush did, indeed, cut funding for groups that perform abortions. “In 2001, Bush issued a memo ensuring that the Mexico City Policy prohibited the USAID agency from funding pro-abortion groups,” reported LifeNews, noting that the Mexico City Policy, “first instituted during the Reagan administration, prohibits the federal government from giving taxpayer funds to international organizations that perform or promote abortions in other countries, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation.”
And in 2003, the Bush Administration again cut federal abortion funding, issuing a memorandum to the State Department that read in part: “Because family planning grants are awarded by the Department of State outside of USAID as well as through USAID, you are hereby directed to extend the requirements of the March 28, 2001, memorandum to all assistance for voluntary population planning furnished to foreign nongovernmental organizations.”
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Photo of Barack Obama from October 16, 2012 presidential debate: AP Images