For the first time in its 100 year history, Planned Parenthood has endorsed a candidate in a presidential primary: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton officially accepted the endorsement yesterday afternoon in Manchester. NHPR’s Natasha Haverty reports.
High stakes—those are the words out of everyone’s mouth tonight. That's why Planned Parenthood's political action fund decided to make Sunday’s unprecedented endorsement, as President Cecile Richards told the 300 person crowd:
"This election will determine whether Roe v Wade continues, whether women and families make their own child bearing decisions not politicians, and whether women can continue to seek care from Planned Parenthood...That’s why we’re here today, that’s why we’re here in New Hampshire, ladies and gentleman, the next president of the United States of America, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."
Clinton picked up where Richards left off:
"You know every election is important. But this one poses such a stark choice. And the stakes are so high."
The endorsement comes less than a month before the Democratic presidential primary here, where Clinton is in a close race against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Planned Parenthood has found itself at the center of national politics—just days ago Congress approved a bill to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and end funding for Planned Parenthood. President Obama immediately vetoed that bill.
And in New Hampshire this summer, the executive council voted down a state contract with Planned Parenthood, which Clinton highlighted as one more threat to reproductive rights:
"Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all. Not when patients and providers have to endure harassment just to walk into a health center."
Security was so tight at Sunday’s endorsement event, organizers asked guests not to disclose the location—which turned out to be the dining hall at Southern New Hampshire University.
The hope for Clinton’s campaign is that the Planned Parenthood endorsement will mean support from female voters in swing states like New Hampshire, where reproductive rights are a driving issue.