President Obama on Tuesday night delivered a video message to the NARAL Pro-Choice America annual dinner in which he thanked pro-abortion-rights activists for their work and marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Courtâ€™s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
â€śWe reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a womanâ€™s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom, because we know that we are better off as a nation when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect in life, whether itâ€™s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make,â€ť Obama said in the 90-second video to supporters gathered in a ballroom of the Hilton Hotel.
The video message came three months after the end of a campaign season in which reproductive rights became an unexpected focal point in several downballot races across the country, as well as in Obamaâ€™s White House battle against former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).
While Obama made no mention of his former rival in his video, the 2012 campaign was a focus of the remarks by several speakers, including Nancy Keenan, who is stepping down after eight years as NARALâ€™s president, and former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, the keynote speaker at Tuesdayâ€™s dinner.
Keenan argued that anti-abortion-rights candidates â€śstaked their careers on attacking a womanâ€™s right to choose, and my friends, they paid dearly at the ballot box.â€ť
Cutter -- who was hailed by Obama in his video message as â€śan exceptional pick for pretty much any job, if I do say so myselfâ€ť â€“ told the crowd that Republicans â€śmisread their mandate after the 2010 elections.â€ť
â€śThey thought that 2012 would mean an even better year for that extreme agenda. ... They nominated Senate candidates who didnâ€™t understand that rape actually can cause pregnancy,â€ť she said.
Cutter took aim in her remarks at both Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). She said that during the 2012 White House race, Obama campaign staffers had a joke about Romney that â€śwhen he watched Mad Men, he thought he was watching the 11 oâ€™clock news.â€ť
Of Ryan, she noted that the former GOP vice-presidential nominee is co-sponsor of a bill before the current Congress that would aim to defund organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
â€śNow, if their own failed vice-presidential nominee is still trying to roll back the clock, you tell me, did they really learn the less of the 2012 election?â€ť Cutter said.
Late last month, hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion-rights activists marked the Roe v. Wade anniversary by demonstrating in front of the Supreme Court and on the National Mall at the annual â€śMarch for Life.â€ť
The full text of Obamaâ€™s video message to NARAL is below:
â€śGood evening, everybody. Tonight, we celebrate the historic Roe v. Wade decision handed down 40 years ago. But we also gather to recommit ourselves to the decisionâ€™s guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a womanâ€™s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom, because we know that we are better off as a nation when women are treated fairly and equally in every aspect in life, whether itâ€™s the salary you earn or the health decisions you make. This is a country where the success of all of us depends on the empowerment of each of us, where all Americans should have the freedom and opportunity to reach their potential. And I know thatâ€™s what youâ€™re fighting for every day.â€ť
â€śSo, to everyone at NARAL Pro-Choice America, thank you for your tireless advocacy for the health and well-being of women and families. Iâ€™d especially like to thank your outgoing president, Nancy Keenan, whoâ€™s been a friend and counselor to me and my administration. And I welcome Ilyse Hogue, who we know will continue Nancyâ€™s legacy of outstanding leadership of this organization. Finally, congratulations on your keynote speaker, Stephanie Cutter, an exceptional pick for pretty much any job, if I do say so myself.â€ť
â€śI couldnâ€™t be prouder of the work each of you is doing to make this world a fairer and more just place for all Americans. And I look forward to continuing that work with you in the years ahead.â€ť