MSNBC: Indiana Cutting Planned Parenthood Funding = 'Politics' Interfering in 'Women's Health'

During the 11AM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Thomas Roberts decried Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels voicing support for legislation to de-fund the state chapter of Planned Parenthood as "a move that has many questioning if politics is playing too much of a role in women's health."

Turning to Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum, Roberts declared: "...here's the national reality for everyone out there that may not understand what it is that Planned Parenthood does, and this was checked by Politifact, only 3% of services at national clinics are abortion-related." What he failed to mention was that Planned Parenthood is America's largest abortion provider, performing over 300,000 abortions per year. According to its annual report, Planned Parenthood of Indiana performed 5,580 abortions in 2010.

Roberts went on to cue up Cockrum with liberal talking points: "So if this goes forward, how big of a negative is this for your women within your state individually? And then we can talk about it on a national level from there." She replied: "It's a huge concern for the state of Indiana, because as many as 22,000 of our most vulnerable are at risk of losing their medical home across state at our 28 locations. And what we're talking about here is basic preventive health care, pap tests, annual exams, breast exams, STD testing and treatment and birth control."
                                                
Referencing Governor Daniels as a possible presidential candidate, Roberts speculated: "...he's taken a lot of heat for publicly saying that we should call a truce on social issues. He didn't campaign on this, so are you afraid it's linked to higher ambitions and not really what's happening within the border of Indiana?" Cockrum bemoaned: "It's really disappointing to see Governor Daniels go in this direction. And it's further demonstration that, that party seems to feel like it has to pander to that minority, and it's a sad day to see him join that."

Roberts wrapped up the segment by suggesting that the challenge for Planned Parenthood in the public debate was simply a "branding issue" and that "people just don't understand the basics of what" the organization does. Cockrum argued: "Actually, I think people do understand....we've had an extraordinary opportunity to educate about just exactly what it is that Planned Parenthood does do, and how important it is that we stay out there and provide these services to people in need, especially in this economy."

Here is a full transcript of the May 3 segment:

11:35AM ET

THOMAS ROBERTS: Another story that we're following, Republicans lost the fight, as we all remember, to de-fund Planned Parenthood in Washington, but now conservatives running states are trying to finish the job. Indiana governor, for example, and possible presidential candidate, Mitch Daniels is taking the first major step, saying that he's going to sign legislation to cut off all government-funded – funding, that is – for Planned Parenthood in his state, a move that has many questioning if politics is playing too much of a role in women's health.

Betty Cockrum is the president and CEO of the Indiana chapter of Planned Parenthood and joins us this morning. Betty, it's good to have you on and here's the national reality for everyone out there that may not understand what it is that Planned Parenthood does, and this was checked by Politifact, only 3% of services at national clinics are abortion-related. So if this goes forward, how big of a negative is this for your women within your state individually? And then we can talk about it on a national level from there.

BETTY COCKRUM: It's a huge concern for the state of Indiana, because as many as 22,000 of our most vulnerable are at risk of losing their medical home across state at our 28 locations. And what we're talking about here is basic preventive health care, pap tests, annual exams, breast exams, STD testing and treatment and birth control.

ROBERTS: Betty, we have to touch on the politics that are involved in all of this. Mitch Daniels, as I said, considering a run for president, he's taken a lot of heat for publicly saying that we should call a truce on social issues. He didn't campaign on this, so are you afraid it's linked to higher ambitions and not really what's happening within the border of Indiana?

COCKRUM: It's really disappointing to see Governor Daniels go in this direction. And it's further demonstration that, that party seems to feel like it has to pander to that minority, and it's a sad day to see him join that.
            
ROBERTS: Betty, and just finally, do you think that when we have the topic of Planned Parenthood, the title itself, are you having difficulty because it's a branding issue? That people just don't understand the basics of what you do?

COCKRUM: Actually, I think people do understand, and I think one really positive outcome of this dialogue that started with Congressman Pence on the Hill, and has now been at the forefront here in Indiana, is that we've had an extraordinary opportunity to educate about just exactly what it is that Planned Parenthood does do, and how important it is that we stay out there and provide these services to people in need, especially in this economy.

ROBERTS: Mm-hmn.

COCKRUM: I think people do understand, and I think the support is deep and abiding, and I think we will see that.

ROBERTS: Betty Cockrum with Planned Parenthood in Indiana. Betty, thanks so much.

COCKRUM: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC