Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thrust himself into the the Susan G. Komen controversy on Monday when he said in a radio interview that he agreed with Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding.
When Minnesota radio host Scott Hennen asked Romney whether Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the leading U.S. anti-breast cancer charity, should continue to give Planned Parenthood grants for cancer screenings and mammogram referrals, Romney said, “I don’t think so.”
“I also feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood,” the former Massachusetts governor added. “Look, the idea that we’re subsidizing an institution which is providing abortion, in my view, is wrong. Planned Parenthood ought to stand on their own feet, and should not get government subsidy.”
Romney could not have picked a worse time to associate himself with Susan G. Komen’s anti-Planned Parenthood agenda. The cancer charity is roiling in a massive backlash for announcing it would defund Planned Parenthood because of a congressional investigation. Karen Handel, Komen’s staunchly anti-abortion vice president for public policy, was the main force behind the decision and the attempt to disguise it as nonpolitical, The Huffington Post reported on Sunday. Komen leadership last week reversed its Planned Parenthood decision and apologized.
Romney has a long way to go to convince conservatives of his anti-abortion credentials. He emphasized in the interview on Monday that he is a “pro-life individual” and was a “pro-life governor.” Nevertheless, he sought Planned Parenthood’s endorsement during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser, and answered in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire that he supported state-funded abortions.
“Talk about the extreme other side of the pendulum,” said Tricia Wajda, spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.