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As GOP mounts fight against health law, Obama appeals to women, Planned Parenthood


As Republicans mount opposition once again to President Barack Obama’s health-care law, the president appealed to women and specifically Planned Parenthood for help in fighting back.

Mike Theiler / Reuters

President Barack Obama speaks at the Planned Parenthood National Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington April 26, 2013.

"I am here to also ask for your help, because we need to get the word out," Obama told Planned Parenthood Friday.

Much of the Affordable Care Act will begin being implemented next year, including the unpopular mandate, requiring those who do not have health insurance to obtain it or pay a fine. The Supreme Court upheld the law in a 5-4 decision last year.

Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have begun a messaging campaign against the law’s implementation in much the same way the GOP did before the law’s passage in 2009.

“I urge my friends on the other side to join with Republicans and stop this ‘train wreck’ before things get even worse,” McConnell said Thursday in a Senate floor speech. McConnell’s up for reelection in 2014 in Kentucky.

The Republican leader’s use of the phrase “train wreck” was a reference to retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Baucus, who ironically helped write and pass the health-care law, gave Republicans ammunition last week while questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a Senate hearing.

"I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” he said. "You and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet."

Baucus, who was up for reelection in a red state in 2014, made the remark the same day he voted against the compromise gun background check legislation.

He announced his retirement just six days later.

Republicans have indicated it will use concerns about the law’s implementation against Democrats in next year’s midterm, hoping it will help fuel a takeover of the Senate.

“In 2014, ObamaCare will be a political tsunami.... and Democrats are terrified,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring said in a tweet, part of a series of tweets messaging against health care and highlighting other Democrats’ concerns.

Republicans need to net six seats to gain control of the Upper Chamber and make McConnell majority leader.

During the first fight over the health plan, before it became law in 2009, President Obama was seen as the best messenger for it. There were few, if any, other Democrats who showed an ability to frame the argument in favor of the plan as well as Republicans who opposed it.

Health-law advocates, however, worry that the president will be consumed with immigration over the next several months into the fall, just as the behind-the-scenes implementation of the law will be taking place.

That’s one reason Obama is looking for allies, and there’s no better place for him to start than Planned Parenthood, a group that helped advocate for the law’s passage.

“Planned Parenthood’s not going anywhere,” Obama told the group, referring to Republican attempts to de-fund it. “It’s not going anywhere today; it’s not going anywhere tomorrow. … You've got a president who's going to be right there with you in that fight every step of the way."

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