Hillary Clinton strongly defended Planned Parenthood Thursday as the women's health organization reels from the fallout over a sting video released by anti-abortion activists earlier this month.
"For more than a century, Planned Parenthood has provided essential services for women," Clinton said while campaigning at a community college in Greenville, South Carolina. "And I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years. And it's really an attack against a woman's right to chose."
Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services, is under heavy fire after a group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released hidden camera footage of Planned Parenthood executives speaking about fetal tissue donations to CMP activists, who posed as a representatives of a medical research company.
Scientists can legally use donated fetal tissue from abortions for research, but the videos have reignited the partisan fight over abortion, and led Republican lawmakers to call for stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood.
Clinton noted that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has apologized for insensitivity shown by employees in the video, and acknowledged that the group will continue to face questions, but Clinton said the organization provides critical health services, especially to poor women, that must continue.
"I'm hoping this situation will not further undermine the very important services that Planned Parenthood provides across our country," Clinton said.
It's hardly the first time Planned Parenthood, whose political arm is also a top advocate for abortion rights, has come under attack. During the 2012 election, Democrats rallied behind the group when a different sting video lead to attempts to rescind federal funding.
It's taken some time for allies to respond to the latest attack, but Democrats appear to once again be circling the wagons around Planned Parenthood. Before Clinton spoke Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the controversy as a GOP invention. And White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the videos were "selectively edited to distort not just the words of the individual speaking, but also Planned Parenthood."
At the same event Thursday, Clinton was asked about foreign policy and the Middle East. She said that despite issues, she still believes that a two-state solution is "the only resolution that will work" and the "best outcome" for both Israelis and Palestinians. She added that "there is no alternative."
Despite years of attempts from numerous American presidents, the two sides are perhaps farther from a deal than ever, leading some to abandon the idea that there will ever be two states in the region. But Clinton vowed that, if president, she would dive back into the issue and work for a negotiated settlement.
On a lighter note, Clinton said she was finding it easier to be a woman running for president today than it was in 2008. "This time it seems easier, people are much more open," she said.
Clinton has made her gender a centerpiece of her second candidacy, even as she largely steered clear of identity on her first presidential run.
"I'm having a good time," she added.