All In   |  April 26, 2013

Obama speech to Planned Parenthood a first in US presidency

President Obama spoke to Planned Parenthood Friday in Washington, D.C. Chris Hayes discusses the implications of the historic speech with Terry O'Neill.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> planned parenthood was found nearly a hundred years ago. since that day no sitting president of the united states ever addressed the group. that is until today when barack obama spoke to the group in washington, d.c. you'll not be surprised to hear he received a ruckus welcome.

>> one thing the past few years have shown, it's that planet parenthood is not going anywhere. it is not going anywhere today. it is not going anywhere tomorrow. as long as we've got a fight to make sure women have access to quality affordable healthcare and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right it make her own choices about her own health, i want you to know you've also got a president that will be right there with you fighting every step of the way.

>> the political context and president speaking to planned parenthood is pretty remarkable. he is leading into the battle that democrats have long shied away from. pat buchanan gave a strategy of issues railing against crime and busing, for instance, telling nixon he could quote cut the democratic party and country in half. my view is that we would have, by far, the larger half. the demographics of the obama coalition have fundamentally changed. the political calculations on a whole host of cultural war issues. democrats often find themselves, to quote buchanan, with the larger half. it is not just immigration and guy marriage, but the kind of thing that they were in a crouch on, they have now embraced. they are picking fights on issues they used to avoid. both because they believe in their positions and because the coalition they trasted means they can be with the majority of their voters. that is particularly true on the birth control , u which blossomed last year thanks it rick santorum who famously called it famous and counter to how things are supposed to be and partly thanks to the affordable care act which requires insurers to cover with no co-pay. barack obama won by 34 points over mitt romney . obama speaking to planned parenthood today, something no other sitting president has dared to do, shows how the obama agency is changing how the wars are fought in a very fundamental way. joining me tonight president of the national organization for women , terry o'neill. wonderful to have you here. you've been in this face for some time. and i'm curious what you made of the president making history today , talking to planned parenthood and what that means for the trajectory on where we are for women's rights and reproduction.

>> i'm thrilled that he did it. not only is the president and our other democrats leaning in, as you say, into this fight over women's access to reproductive healthcare services, actually the republicans are leaning in in the most, frankly, bizarre way. 77 percent esof voters want roe versus wade to remain the law of the land . this includes 35% of voters who consider themselves to be pro life , chris. so the republicans are in north dakota . we now have a law, a bill sign into law , that would criminalize abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. in arkansas it is 12 weeks. in mississippi legislature is doing all it can to shut down abortion clinics. in virginia, owning a main candidate for government of virginia is trying to shut down all of the abortion clinics in that state.

>> here is what is fascinating to me about what you are highlighting. have you a trajectory of the politics of this issue in a national election that look at a coalition that is being assembled in particular young women , particularly single women , are a mass ofly powerful democratic constituency. they come out to vote, black, white, latino, all races.

>> right.

>> you are eing intense ifying restrictive and go after the providers more medically amenable it that. so what does that add up to politically at that moment? what i look at when i look at the polling on roe, on the polling on abortion and the polling on choice, a lock need state y statis that's been true for 15 or 20 years. is this what we are confined to?

>> no. i think what is going to change is the fact we have a major political party willing to take it on openly np in 2012 when the democratic party decided that it was going to openly and proudly proclaim its support for women's abortion rights and birth control rights, that really changed things. it is wonderful that president is continuing that. what will change now is what we've got is redistricting that happened in 2010 , from the 2010 census. that is going to control the legislative bodies for a long time. but increasingly the voters are going to one by one by one start picking off those legislators that are vulnerable enough that we can pick them off, that are voting against us.

>> let me ask you this question finally here. you said that the democrats in 2012 , and i agree, they were more open for their support than i had seen in a long time.

>> but it is noticeable to me that real battle is fought on the terrain of birth control and notable to me that when planned parn parenthood were defended, they were defended and about how the small amount of abortion they do today and the president did not use the word abortion today in his speech.

>> he didn't.

>> the question is, yes, there's been progress. but it seems to me the democrats do not want to use that word.

>> maybe this year. but i think that will change, chris. i really do. look, in massachusetts right now, you have a special election to fill john kerry 's seat in the senate. there is a democrat who is anti-choice running against a democrat who is pro choice , very proud of his record on abortion rights and he is running on his record on abortion rights . that's ed marky. i think that ed marky will win the election. i think he will win it hands down in large part because he's been so open about his support for abortion rights . once we see that happen, and by the way, i think in south carolina we might have a very good outcome with elizabeth bush , yeah, so i think slowly what, i hope elected officials and candidates will see, is this attack abortion is a loser option for them.

>> terry o'neill, president of the national organization for women . we will see. massachusetts democratic primary . thanks for joining us tonight, appreciate it.

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