Romney: Komen shouldn't fund Planned Parenthood

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney talks during a campaign rally in Grand Junction, Colorado, February 6, 2012. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney talks during a campaign rally in Grand Junction, Colorado, February 6, 2012.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday added his voice to the chorus of conservatives who say the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, one of the nation's leading breast cancer charities, should not fund the women's health organization Planned Parenthood.

When asked by talk radio host Scott Hennen in an interview whether he thinks Komen should provide funds to Planned Parenthood, Romney said "I don't think so."

The candidate, who has in recent days taken a much more aggressive stance on issues like contraception, went on to call for the government, as well as Komen, to pull its funding from Planned Parenthood.

"I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood," Romney told Hennen. "Look, the idea that we're subsidizing an institution that provides abortion, in my view, is wrong. Planned Parenthood oughta stand on its own feet and should not get government subsidy."

Planned Parenthood has in the last several years become a frequent target of congressional Republicans because it provides abortion services in addition to other women's health services while receiving government support. (The government support cannot be used to pay for abortions.)

Romney went on to tout his pro-life credentials: "I am a pro-life individual, I was a pro-life governor, I served as a pro-life governor, I'm a pro-life candidate," he said. "I simply do not want to participate in anything that takes the lives of an unborn child."

The remarks represent an ongoing debate over the breast cancer charity's short-lived decision, announced last week, to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings and preventative education. The charity had previously provided the women's health organization between around $500,000 and $700,000 worth of grants annually for those services, according to Planned Parenthood.

The decision, when announced, inspired a ferocious backlash from the left and women's health advocates, who accused Komen of caving to pressure from the right in what they cast as an ongoing assault on the reproductive rights of women.

Komen later reversed course, but the controversy has yet to abate completely. Some on the right have accused Planned Parenthood of using bullying and "intimidation" tactics in its efforts to publicize and protest the issue; many on the left, meanwhile, are dissatisfied with the change in Komen language, which leaves ambiguity as to whether or not Planned Parenthood will actually continue to receive grants from the cancer charity in the future.

Romney, meanwhile, is loudly touting his social conservative credentials ahead of three non-binding nominating contests Tuesday night - particularly with Rick Santorum showing signs of life among the socially conservative Republican demographics of Minnesota and Missouri.

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