Planned Parenthood Funding, Women's Health Issues Create Debate Flashpoints

President Barack Obama pivoted from a question about women in the workplace to criticize GOP candidate Mitt Romney for his positions on contraceptive coverage, funding for Planned Parenthood, and abortion.

Los Angeles Times: Romney And Obama Spar Over Their Women-Friendly Policies
As he often does, Romney brought the question around to a strong economy. In such an environment, he said, employers are "going to be anxious to hire women." Obama came back at Romney by knocking him for his opposition to insurers being required to provide contraception coverage, as well as his intention to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood (Abcarian, 10/16).

Politico: Abortion Finally Comes To The Surface
It took a debate and a half to get there, but the biggest social-issue debate of the 2012 campaign finally came up in an Obama-Romney debate. It was the president, rather than a questioner, who raised abortion. In an exchange about women's rights in the workplace, Barack Obama segued to a sharp critique of Mitt Romney's views on contraception and his support for defunding Planned Parenthood (Burns, 10/16).

The Hill: Obama Brought Up Planned Parenthood Four Times In Debate
President Obama brought up federal funding for Planned Parenthood four times in Tuesday's debate, perhaps in a sign that he believes the issue can help him with female voters. Mitt Romney has been gaining ground with that crucial demographic since his much-touted performance in the first presidential debate on Oct 3.  The GOP nominee has argued that federal funds need not go to Planned Parenthood to provide healthcare for low-income women. The group also provides abortions, making it a major target for conservatives. No questions on Tuesday addressed Planned Parenthood, but Obama raised the issue several times, calling the group's federally supported mammograms and cancer screenings "a pocketbook issue for women and families across the country" (Viebeck, 10/16).

The Hill: Obama Slams Romney Over Birth Control Issue
President Obama touted his healthcare law's birth control coverage mandate and criticized Mitt Romney for supporting a bill that would allow any employer not to follow it, prompting a tart response from the Republican nominee. "A major difference in this campaign is that Gov. Romney feels comfortable having politicians in Washington decide the healthcare choices that women are making," Obama said in Tuesday night's debate. "I think that's a mistake" (Viebeck, 10/16).

Politico Pro: Obama Blasts Romney On Repeal Promises
President Barack Obama blasted Mitt Romney on Tuesday night for opposing the Obama administration's contraception coverage mandate — prompting Romney to say he believes all women should have access to contraceptives. Romney didn't say how he would do it — but he insisted that Obama had his position wrong. "I don't believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not. And I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they can have contraceptive care or not," Romney said. "Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives." The exchange came during a fiery debate in which Obama accused Romney of answering "me, too" to pressure from conservatives — including on repealing Obama’s signature health care law (Haberkorn, 10/16).

CNN: Candidates Positions On Contraception?
President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to draw a distinction between himself and GOP challenger Mitt Romney on contraceptives. He boasted that Obama's Affordable Care Act gives insured women free contraception coverage, and said Romney thinks employers should decide whether women can get contraception through insurance. Obama made the statements at Tuesday's presidential debate in Hempstead, New York. Romney, who has said he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and also takes issue with part of the contraceptive coverage rule, countered that Obama misrepresented his stance… Obama's health care act does require most insurers to provide free contraception coverage to women, as described above. Romney, while not opposing the availability of contraception, opposes the contraception rule, arguing it forces some religious institutions to go against their faith (10/17).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.