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E&C Democrats Fight to Protect Women’s Access to Health Care

Sep 18, 2015
Press Release
Members Stand with Planned Parenthood Patients to Denounce GOP’s Extremist Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Energy and Commerce Democrats fought back against yet another Republican attempt to deprive women across the country of life-saving preventative services by slashing Planned Parenthood funding and, this time, recklessly threatening to shut down the federal government in the process. 

On Thursday, the Health subcommittee convened to consider Republican proposals that would give states the unprecedented ability to unilaterally eliminate providers from federal health programs, restricting women’s access to care.  In advance of the hearing, members stood with Planned Parenthood patients—women who would feel the immediate and detrimental effects of these Republican proposals—and called on the majority to stop these extreme attacks.  

“During a period of unemployment, I needed access to health care and birth control. I couldn’t afford COBRA, and wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t sure where I could go,” said Christina, one of the Planned Parenthood patients who told her personal story.  “I was lucky to have Planned Parenthood. They serve a critical role in the community, and you never know when you’re going to need them.”

Below is what Energy and Commerce Democrats had to say:

“This concerted effort by Republicans, under the guise of falsified videos, is not about strengthening current law.  Let’s drop the charade and recognize this for what it really is.  It’s about restricting access to women’s health care.  And if Republicans continue down this reckless path, it will lead to a government shutdown.”
– Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)

“With seven legislative days left before our government is forced to shut down, the Majority has chosen to spend hours working to shutter an organization that provides life-saving care to more than 2 million Americans.  Despite contrived, unsubstantiated allegations, Planned Parenthood has violated zero state or federal laws. What it has done is provide breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, counseling, contraception, HIV tests, and other invaluable services to our country’s poorest and most underserved women and men. Revoking access to these life-saving services would be a disgrace, and I proudly stand with Planned Parenthood against these vicious attacks.” 
– Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY)

“Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood will do nothing more than prevent women who rely on these services from getting the care they need.  More than 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does nationally is preventive care – including cervical cancer screenings, breast cancer screenings, and family planning—mostly for women with low resources and income below the poverty line. We cannot play politics with women’s health care. This has real consequences for real people.” 
– Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX)

“The American people have made it clear that our focus in Congress should be on supporting a strong middle class, fueling our economy, and ensuring that hard work can lead to a better future for Americans and their families.  But instead of listening to what our constituents want, my Republican colleagues are driving us on a collision course with another government shutdown, this time over access to vital medical care for women in this country.”
– Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO)

“Planned Parenthood is a critical health care provider on California's Central Coast and around the nation. These dangerous efforts to defund or close these clinics is political theater that would have a detrimental impact on the health of our constituents and local communities.”
– Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) 

“Republicans have shown that women are fair game as they threaten to shut down the government in a shameless partisan ploy to defund Planned Parenthood.  Despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, Republicans have insisted on conducting a witch hunt based on highly edited videos released by a fraudulent organization.  Let’s be clear – this is a thinly veiled attempt to erode women’s health and interfere with their constitutionally protected right to choose to have an abortion. Politicians should not be dictating women’s personal health care choices; instead we should be improving access to health care.”
– Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

“We have made great strides in providing health coverage for all Americans under the Affordable Care Act. But these attacks on Planned Parenthood would take us many steps backwards by depriving millions of women and families access to health care, including preventive services like cancer screening, contraceptive access, and preconception counseling aimed at helping women prepare for healthy pregnancies. I urge Congress to put aside partisan politics so that every American, regardless of their income, is able to obtain affordable, quality healthcare from the provider of their choice.”
– Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA)

“Republicans in Congress have pushed us to the brink of yet another government shutdown.  The bill brought to the floor today is an attempt by the Republican leadership to distract the American people from their failure to do their job.  The Deny Women Healthcare Act is a cynical attack on the ability of women across America to receive the health services that they need.”
 – Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL)

“Roughly 180,000 women receive the life-saving care they need each year from Planned Parenthood centers in New York state alone. Nationally, that number climbs to 2.7 million of our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. That’s the entire population of Chicago.  If House Republicans want to continue to try to blow a Chicago-sized hole in the access women currently have to their health care, they’re welcome to try. But we’re not going to let that happen.” 
– Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)

“Over half of Planned Parenthood’s centers are in regions with a shortage of healthcare professionals, or in a rural or underserved community, making the organization the only option for hundreds of thousands of families,” said Congressman Kennedy. “And it is those families – already underserved, already struggling to access care, already fighting to make ends meet – who have the most to lose if my Republican colleagues get their way.”
– Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)