It didn’t generate much attention at the time, but Mitt Romney had an op-ed in USA Today five months ago, talking about the spending cuts he’d make while slashing taxes on the wealthy. Among the cuts: “Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.”
As the former governor sees it, the way to improve the deficit is to cut taxes, increase military spending, and block access to contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.
Yesterday, in an interview with the NBC affiliate in St. Louis, Romney was even more explicit, saying, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that,” while talking about cuts he’d make to federal funding. Overnight, the DNC put together this video, going on the offensive over the issue.
There are several key angles to keep in mind in a story like this, including the ways in which this plays into the “Republican war on women” theme (Romney also enthusiastically backed the Blunt Amendment two weeks ago).
It’s also worth noting that Republican support for Planned Parenthood was the norm for nearly a half-century. Barry Goldwater and George H.W. Bush championed the health organization; Reagan never balked at PP funding in the budget; and none of this was considered controversial in the slightest. There’s no clearer example of the GOP’s shift to the extreme than its newfound disgust for Planned Parenthood.
But the point I keep coming back to is Romney himself having supported the health organization, including having attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.
Our pal James Carter recently passed along a copy of a piece Romney wrote for Personal Excellence magazine in 2005 on the issue of “integrity.” As the then-governor said at the time, “You have integrity when your actions mirror your values. You live in alignment with your principles and values. Your word is your bond… More lasting than a president’s politics and policies is the legacy of his integrity…. Trust me, if you live in conflict with your core values, you will be unhappy, unhealthy, and less successful.”
Given Romney’s campaign, and his attacks on Planned Parenthood in particular, this almost reads like satire seven years later.