Obama calls pro-abortion leader a 'super hero' after her support of Garland nomination

by Tobin Perry, |
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards speaks at an event to publicly endorse U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Hooksett, N.H. | REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Christian Examiner)—The same day Planned Parenthood urged the U.S. Senate to take action on President Barak Obama's choice of Merrick Garland to be the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president publically praised its CEO during a White House reception honoring Women's History Month.

Cecile Richards was the first among three women that Obama celebrated during the reception. After being introduced by Sana Amanat, the creator of the Ms. Marvel comic book, Obama called Richards, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Dr. Jennifer Welter, the country's first female NFL coach, "super heroes."

"First of all, we've got Cecile Richards in the house, making sure women's health care is on the front burner," Obama said, according to LifeNews.com.

"There is little doubt that the next Obama nominee would provide the fifth vote to strip elected legislators of all meaningful authority to protect unborn children and regulate abortion."

Obama also said that Richards represented most Americans despite her leadership of the abortion cause.

"When it's long past time for our leaders to reflect the majority of the population. Wouldn't it be better for America if women weren't discouraged from seeking office because of double standards, and we had more women in positions of power and high office?" Obama said. "I want to be clear. I'm not stereotyping here. But I'm pretty sure if we had more women in charge, things would work better."

Earlier in the day Planned Parenthood, whom Richards has led for the past decade, expressed its support for Garland in a Facebook post: "Here's what you need to know about President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland: He's an intelligent, highly accomplished judge with a record of bipartisan support. There is no reason for the Senate GOP leadership to obstruct justice and refuse to give Judge Garland a fair hearing."

Since the president's announcement of the Garland nomination on Wednesday morning, the Republican leadership in the senate has continued to re-iterate that it will not consider the nomination of Garland. Article II of the U.S. Consitution gives the president the right to appoint Supreme Court justices with the "advice and consent of the senate." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the American people should have a voice in the person who replaces the late Justice Antonin Scalia when they elect the next president.

Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, has never issued a major ruling on the issue of abortion, according to Time.com. He's also kept his legal opinions on the topic quiet around former clerks.

He did, however, clerk for Supreme Court Justic William Brennan, described by the New York Times as "the driving force behind Roe V. Wade," and called the release of Roe author Hally Blackmun's private papers a "great gift to the country."

But many pro-life organizations say they expect that any Obama nominee will be pro-abortion.

"There is little doubt that the next Obama nominee would provide the fifth vote to strip elected legislators of all meaningful authority to protect unborn children and regulate abortion," said National Right to Life president Carol Tobias.

Richards, the daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, was seen entering the White House immediately following the president's announcement of Garland on Wednesday.

"The picture prompts speculation as to what kind of help Planned Parenthood will give the Obama administration in attempting to get another abortion-supporting judge on the nation's highest court," wrote Steven Ertelt on LifeNews.com.

Richards has had a long relationship with the Obama White House. According to an article on cnsmews.com last July, Richards had visited the White House 39 times since 2009. Live Action News says the abortion provider has given $133,763 to Obama during his political career.

In the past Obama has not spared lavish praise for Planned Parenthood. According to Live Action News, Obama even told the group "God bless you" during its 2013 gala. Obama became the first sitting president to speak to the organization.

"If there's one the last few years have shown, it's that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere, it's not going away today, it's not going away tomorrow," Obama also said at the gala, according to the Wall Street Journal. "As long as we've got to fight to make sure that women have access to quality affordable health care and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a president who's going to be right there with you."

In January, for the first time in the organization's history, Planned Parenthood endorsed a U.S. presidential candidate during the primary period.

"Let's be clear — reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016," said Richards, according to the Washington Post. "We're proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States."

In her endorsement of Clinton, Richards noted that, "No other candidate in our nation's history has demonstrated such a strong commitment to women or such a clear record on behalf of women's health and rights."