President Barack Obama will be the keynote speaker for Planned Parenthood’s annual gala Thursday, an event that will honor sex therapist and author Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and liberal activist Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO series Girls.
The gala will cap an interesting day for the president and first lady. Before attending the gala, the Obamas will be in Dallas, Texas, for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. On the “Support Our Work” page, the Bush Center’s website declares, “Each human life is precious.”
Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, is enthusiastic about the Obamas’ attendance. “President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights,” she said. “We are honored to have President Obama join us at our 'Time for Care’ Gala at this pivotal moment for women's health.”
Last week, the president reaffirmed his support for abortion on NBC’s Today show. “You know, I think, President [Bill] Clinton said it pretty well when he said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare." Last year, Obama taped a video message telling Planned Parenthood members he would fight Republican efforts to cut their federal funding. That included attacking GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his desire to cut Planned Parenthood’s government income stream.
Discussion on abortion has been heated in recent weeks—centered on the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with killing a woman and four babies. (Earlier today, the judge in the case dismissed three other murder charges pending against Gosnell.) Also during his Today show interview, the president said he “couldn’t comment” on the trial because it is ongoing. On April 15, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president was “aware” of the case and that “certainly the things that you hear and read about this case are unsettling.”
Planned Parenthood spent about $15 million on the November election according to The Washington Post. This was mostly to help the president’s reelection effort.