Raleigh, N.C. — Criticism of Planned Parenthood by a Republican lawmaker has become an issue in the North Carolina lieutenant governor campaign.
Democratic candidate Linda Coleman on Tuesday called Republican legislative leaders to repudiate comments made by Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus.
In an email response to a request that he support state funding for Planned Parenthood in this year's budget, Pittman said the group should be outlawed.
"Planned Parenthood is a murderous organization who make their living off the butchering of innocent human beings in their mothers' wombs," he wrote. "They deal out nothing but deception, death, personal devastation and moral degradation."
"Never will I agree to give that bloody, indecent, immoral organization one penny," Pittman concluded.
Coleman called the comments graphic and untrue.
"To have those kind of untruths out there pervading this campaign season is unfair," she said. "It is unfair to the Planned Parenthood organization (and) organizations that are very similar to Planned Parenthood, and it is certainly unfair to the women who receive the services and their families."
Republican lawmakers in Washington and Raleigh have targeted funding to Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. State and federal money cannot, by law, be used for abortions. Any such funding is used by Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, health care and contraception.
Planned Parenthood said it serves 25,000 patients a year in North Carolina, three-quarters of whom are uninsured. Abortions make up 3 percent of its services in the state, the group said.
Neither Pittman nor Coleman's Republican opponent, Dan Forest, could be reached for comment Tuesday. Republican legislative leaders declined to comment.