With President Barack Obama set to emphasize women's health care on a swing through Colorado, Hollywood star Elizabeth Banks warns in a new campaign ad that Mitt Romney's opposition to Planned Parenthood would take away cancer screenings. Banks also describes her reliance on Planned Parenthood in unusually personal terms, describing how she got birth control to ease discomfort associated with her "heavy flow" cycle.
Banks, looking to help Obama tilt the odds ever in his favor, praises Planned Parenthood for providing "essential services all over this country." She says that 95 percent of the care the organization provides is noncontroversial and sharply criticizes Romney, who has said he would cut off its federal funding.
"For that little 5 percent that Mitt Romney decides he doesn't agree with, he's going to take away cancer screenings. What is he doing?" she says. "He's going to take away people's access to health care close by. We're talking about working-class ladies who need health care. That's it. That's Planned Parenthood."
Obama's swing through Colorado, a battleground state where a recent poll shows him trailing Romney, aims to put the political spotlight on women's issues. Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student that conservative icon Rush Limbaugh branded a "slut" for advocating insurance coverage of birth control, was to introduce the president in Denver. And campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher warned in a statement that the pro-life Romney would "turn back the clock of decades of progress" on women's health. The former Massachusetts governor has vowed to repeal Obamacare, which includes provisions requiring insurance companies to cover preventative care like contraception and breast cancer screenings.
Banks echoes Fetcher's message in the ad, and underlines that she got her health care from Planned Parenthood when she lacked health insurance after graduating from college—and talks in frank terms about how they helped her.
"Yes, I got birth control—but it was for my massive migraine headaches. And my heavy flow. Yeah, I'm on record saying I had a heavy flow. And unfortunately these are the types of things that I don't want to discuss with employers. I don't want to talk about that with my employer. That's between me and my doctor," she says. (Well, now all of America knows. But birth control pills are frequently prescribed to women who are not sexually active and suffer from extreme discomfort related to menstruation.)
"President Obama has not compromised on women's rights and that's why President Obama needs to stay in office," she says.
Romney has said he aims to overturn the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, but has repeatedly said he does not oppose contraception.
"No false, recycled attacks can distract from the fact that President Obama's four years in office haven't been kind to women," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told Yahoo News by email.
"Hundreds of thousands of women have lost their jobs, poverty among women is highest in nearly two decades, and half of recent graduates can't find a good job," Henneberg said. "Middle-class families have struggled in the Obama economy, and Mitt Romney has a plan to strengthen the middle class and get our country back on the right track."
While Romney was campaigning in Iowa (where Obama plans a three-day swing early next week), some of his surrogates planned to stump in Colorado. Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz was to headline a rally in Grand Junction, while Sen. Rob Portman, seen as a leading contender to be Romney's running mate, was to tour the state aboard Romney's campaign bus.