The XX Factor

Elizabeth Warren Has Fighting Words for GOP on Planned Parenthood

Elizabeth Warren at the Washington Ideas Forum: “They can try to move women back to 1955…they’re gonna be in real trouble over it.”

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren has been a reliable proponent of both reproductive justice and incredulous zingers. In August, the Massachusetts senator expressed concern over the mental health of her cohorts who’d threatened to shut down the government if the federal budget included funding for Planned Parenthood: “Do you have any idea what year it is?” Warren asked. “Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

In a live interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper at the Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum Thursday morning, Warren was in similarly fine form. She stepped around several questions on who she plans to endorse for president (“I’m pretty sure it won’t be a Republican”), threw shade at trickle-down economics, and commented on Donald Trump and Jeb Bush’s support for closing the carried interest loophole that enriches hedge-fund managers (“Even when your ears are stuffed with money, you get a little sound that comes through”).

She also had a few choice words for Republicans who’ve prioritized defunding Planned Parenthood over any other budget negotiations:

It just seems to me that is so out of touch with reality—it’s so out of touch with what it means to govern this country, that they think they’ve got to argue something so they can try to move women back to 1955, that that’s first on their agenda. And they’re just wrong on this. And they’re gonna be in real trouble over it.

Tapper asked her later about the Center for Medical Progress’ heavily edited videos on fetal tissue donation: “Is there nothing on those videotapes that even bothers you at all?”

“Let’s remember what we were debating on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and that was defunding Planned Parenthood,” Warren replied. “It was not, you know, let’s do a review of videotapes. It was defunding Planned Parenthood. And so we have to start by remembering what that means.”

Warren cited statistics on the health care services Planned Parenthood delivers to 2.7 million people every year, many of whom don’t have access to any other health care providers. After breaking down how much of that care is abortion-related (3 percent), she went on:

Make no mistake—what this is really about is about women’s access to abortion. And even though not one federal dollar goes to pay for abortions through Planned Parenthood, the Republicans want to find one more way to make it harder—to make it impossible—for a woman who is facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life, they want to find a way to make it harder on her to get the health care she needs. And all I can say is we’ve been in that world before. When I talk about 1955, I’m talking about a world where women died. I’m talking about a world where women committed suicide rather than go forward with a pregnancy they could not handle. And what the Republicans are saying is that they want us to go back. And I want to make it clear that we’re not going back, Not now, not ever.

“It’s too bad they’re not doing a straw poll here,” Tapper said when the audience applause died down. Warren continued:

I’m going to tell you something. We are doing a straw poll. It’s called the 2016 elections. And the Republicans out there, if they want to run on shutting down women’s access to cancer screenings, and shutting down women’s access to birth control, and shutting down women’s access to not-government-paid-for abortions, then they’re gonna have a real fight on their hands. Let ’em do it.

Watch Warren’s full statement: