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Obama: Pope Francis’ visit might change Republicans’ ‘hearts and minds’ on Planned Parenthood funding fight

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WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Pope Francis' visit to Congress may change Republicans' "hearts and minds" in the fight over Planned Parenthood funding, President Obama said on Friday.

“I expect we’ll continue to have significant fights around issues like Planned Parenthood and significant fights around issues like immigration, but perhaps the visit by the Holy Father to Congress may have changed hearts and minds," Obama said in the Rose Garden Friday afternoon.

Pope Francis became the first pontiff ever to address the U.S. Congress during his visit last week - a speaking engagement retiring House Speaker John Boehner had tried to arrange for 20 years.

During the speech the pontiff had urged congressmen to "protect and defend human life at every stage of its development."

The previous day, Pope Francis warned Congress of a "temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners."

President Obama pointed to this message from the pope, saying, "I would just ask members to really reflect on what His Holiness said - not in the particulars, but in the general problem that we should be open to each other, we should not demonize each other, we should not assume that we have a monopoly on the truth or on what’s right, that we listen to each other and show each other respect and that we show regard for the most vulnerable in our society."

The call echoed similar words the president made on the campus of Notre Dame in 2009, when he said both sides of the abortion debate must speak with "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words." But pro-life advocates say the president has demonized them with an endless stream of federal actions prosecuting sidewalk counselors, gathering intelligence on the pro-life movement, and branding pro-life Americans as potential domestic terrorists in numerous federal reports.

Obama, who had previously called resigning House Speaker John Boehner a "patriot," referred to him on Friday as "a good man and a reasonable man, and he’s going to be around for a while. And I hope that we can get things done before he steps down.”

Boehner's more conservative colleagues, whose pressure led him to resign effective October 30, say funding Planned Parenthood is a non-starter for them.

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