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Obama Says Women Risk Losing Health Choices in State Battles

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said women are at risk of losing access to health-care services because of attacks on Planned Parenthood and efforts to restrict abortion rights in U.S. states.

Speaking to the annual meeting of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Obama said he would fight to keep federal backing for the organization and maintain abortion rights, upheld 40 years ago in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

“For many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care,” Obama said today at the gathering in Washington. “No politician should decide what’s best for you.”

Obama’s speech to the group, delayed by a day so the president could attend a memorial service for the victims of a Texas fertilizer plant explosion, comes as Republican lawmakers in more than 40 states have succeeded in passing restrictions on abortion and at the federal level they are pressing to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

While reaffirming his support for abortion rights and highlighting the benefits for women in the health-care law he pushed through Congress, Obama’s address also was an opportunity to thank Planned Parenthood for its support for his re-election.

“It made all the difference,” Obama said.

Planned Parenthood spent $10 million to help re-elect Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign spending. The group also backed the Democratic nominee in nine Senate races. Eight of them won.

In October 2012, a month before the elections, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 52 percent of likely voters trusted Obama to do a better job addressing women’s issues against 39 percent who thought Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would do a better job, the Washington Post reported.

Among women, the difference was wider, with 55 percent trusting Obama more than 37 percent of women who picked Romney.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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