(CNSNews.com) – Less than a week after saying she found videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the salvaging and sale of body parts of aborted babies “disturbing,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has come out in strong support for the controversial abortion provider.
In a campaign video launched on Monday Clinton extols the work done by Planned Parenthood – “the country’s leading provider of reproductive health care” – and highlights calls by Republicans to defund the group.
She focuses particularly on three governors – one current, two former – who happen to be contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Walker’s defunding of Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, she charges, had “left women across the state stranded, with nowhere else to turn.”
In Florida, she says, Bush had funneled funding into abstinence-only education programs “while gutting funding for crucial family-planning programs.”
And in Texas, Perry had “drastically cut funding for breast and cervical cancer screens, and then signed legislation that forced health centers across the state to close their doors, in an attempt to wipe out access to safe and legal abortion altogether.”
Referring to efforts to defund the organization, Clinton says, “If this feels like a full-on assault on women’s health, that’s because it is.”
“When they attack women’s health they attack America’s health, and it’s wrong. And we’re not going to let them get away with it. We’re not going back, we’re going to fight back.”
“I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood. I’ll never stop fighting to protect the ability and right of every woman in this country to make her own health decisions.”
In her defense of Planned Parenthood Clinton cites “life-saving preventive care, cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control.” Apart from the one reference to “safe and legal abortion” in the Texas context, she does not mention abortion among the organization’s activities.
Planned Parenthood carried out 327,653 abortions in the year from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013, according to a recent data release.
Clinton in the video also makes no reference to the controversy that triggered the latest attempt to defund Planned Parenthood – a series of videos, filmed secretly by a pro-life group, in which Planned Parenthood officials discuss the harvesting of baby body parts.
Last week, Clinton told the New Hampshire Union Leader that she had seen images from the videos shot secretly by the Center for Medical Progress “and obviously find them disturbing.”
She said Planned Parenthood would “continue to answer questions,” but also defended the organization saying that it “for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services.”
On Monday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture on legislation to defund the abortion provider and divert the taxpayer contribution it receives to other health care providers.
Two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, joined a majority of Republicans in voting in favor of the motion, which fell short by seven votes.
One Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, voted no, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of five senators running for president, did not vote.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said after the vote that defunding Planned Parenthood “should be one issue that transcends partisan politics.”
“Their egregious practices portrayed in the videos that have been released over the last several weeks show a callous organization unworthy of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Regrettably, Senate Democrats refused to even allow for an open and honest debate on this issue.”