Obama Defends Planned Parenthood Funding; Says GOP Wants to ‘Turn Back the Clock’ for Women

By Fred Lucas | November 10, 2011 | 9:53 AM EST

President Barack Obama makes an unscheduled visit to the African American Policy in Action Leadership Conference, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) – Instead of supporting his “jobs” bill, Republicans in Congress are trying to “turn back the clock” for women, President Barack Obama told a gathering of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington Wednesday night.

Obama once again plugged his plan to spend billions of dollars on public sector employees and infrastructure improvements. The jobs bill – which Republicans call a second stimulus – does not have enough support to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

But on Wednesday, Obama insisted the bill should have the support of Republicans:

“Instead, they’re spending time focusing on how to turn back the clock,” Obama told the women’s group. “Instead of figuring out how to put more Americans back to work, they’ve been trying to figure out how to take away preventive care that is covered under the Affordable Care Act. Instead of making life easier for women in this country, they want to let insurance companies go back to charging higher prices just because you’re a woman.”

Obama went on to defend government funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider. However, he did not mention abortion.

“Instead of working to boost our economy, they’re out there spending time trying to defund Planned Parenthood and prevent millions of women from getting basic health care that they desperately need –– pap smears and breast exams,” Obama said.

On August 3, President Obama's Health and Human Services Department ordered nearly all private health plans to cover FDA-approved “contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling” as part of their preventive services for women. (See earlier story)

House Republicans have complained that the HHS contraceptive mandate undermines conscience protections for individuals, schools, hospitals, and charities – especially those affiliated with the Catholic Church.

On Wednesday, Obama said of Republicans, “These folks know they can’t win on the big issues, so they’re trying to make the fight about social issues that stir up their base.  They’re spending their time trying to divide this country against itself rather than coming together to lift up our country.”