Hillary Clinton’s first major campaign event since winning President Obama’s endorsement will be an address to the political wing of the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Clinton will speak to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of the national abortion organization on Friday morning. The presumptive Democratic nominee was the first presidential candidate that Planned Parenthood has ever endorsed during a primary.
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"Hillary Clinton holds the strongest record on reproductive rights of all presidential contenders in not just this election, but in American history," the Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a January release. "No other 2016 candidate has shown such strong, lifelong commitment to the issues Planned Parenthood Action Fund cares about."
Clinton dominated fundraising from the group, which performs more than 300,000 abortions each year, throughout the campaign, raising 20 times more money than the rest of the presidential field combined before the endorsement. Clinton hired Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ daughter to help with her Iowa ground game during the primary season and paid the action fund nearly $5,000 for get out the vote operations in January.
Planned Parenthood receives about $500 million from taxpayers each year and government payments account for 40 percent of its annual revenues. As secretary of state, departments reporting to Clinton, primarily USAID, gave Planned Parenthood $100 million for overseas services from 2009 to 2013.
Congressional Republicans have fought to block government funding of Planned Parenthood by steering taxpayer dollars to local clinics that provide women’s health services without performing abortions in the wake of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials speaking candidly about exchanging aborted baby body parts for money.
Clinton initially called the videos’ material "disturbing," but later walked back that criticism, vowing to continue to fund the organization. Planned Parenthood, like Clinton, is under federal investigation from several agencies and congressional committees.
Pro-Life groups criticized Clinton’s cozy relationship with the organization, as well as the campaign event, which they say reflects her "abortion extremism." Clinton, once a defender of partial birth abortion, has backed away from position on the campaign trail. She endorsed minor restrictions on third term abortions in a September television interview, but later said in a Fox News townhall that abortion is "not much of a right if it is totally limited and constrained."
"It’s revealing that Hillary Clinton’s first major stop as the Democratic presumptive nominee would be to Planned Parenthood, the leader of the deep-pocketed abortion industry. Clinton has put abortion at the center of her campaign and has said the ‘unborn person has no constitutional rights,’" Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a release. "She has staked out her turf far outside the mainstream. We welcome this opportunity to engage and expose her, confident the American people will reject her abortion ideology at the ballot box."
A coalition of pro-life groups, including Students for Life of America and the Family Research Council, will protest outside Clinton’s speech at the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel.
"The unholy alliance between Clinton and Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, is disgraceful," the coalition said in a release. "Planned Parenthood receives over $500 million in taxpayer money annually, then funnels tens of millions of dollars to candidates like Clinton to further its agenda and increase its bottom line."