Obama criticizes new abortion law restrictions


US President Barack Obama speaks April 26, 2013 at the Planned Parenthood Gala in Washington, DC. Photo by Chris Kleponis/ CNP



President Barack Obama promised women's activists Friday he would support them in their fight against restrictive abortion.

In an address to a Planned Parenthood gathering in Washington DC, Obama said he would stand with them "fighting every step of the way" to stop efforts by some states to turn women's health back to the 1950s, the New York Times reported.

"The fact is, after decades of progress, there's still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century," he said.

"And they've been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women's health."

Obama's speech follows last month's anti-abortion measure by North Dakota, which bans most abortions after six weeks when a fetal heartbeat can be first detected, AP reported.

He also cited other states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana and Virginia who have passed restrictive abortion laws or are working towards them, CNN reported.

Obama said that on top of making access to abortion more difficult, cuts to funding for women's health clinics was a huge concern.

"When politicians try to turn Planned Parenthood into a punching bag…When they talk about cutting off funding, let's be clear, they're talking about telling many of those women, you're on your own. They're talking about shutting those women out at a time when they may need it most."

Abortion was legalized in 1973 by all 50 states in 1973, however statutory time limits on when abortions can take place vary from state to state.