WASHINGTON —Members of Congress have joined with Planned Parenthood Federation of America to speak out against the House leadership’s assault on women’s health, including proposals to completely eliminate the National Family Planning Program (Title X) and pass the Pence bill to bar any federal funds going to Planned Parenthood for health care of any kind.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the ranking member on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Services Subcommittee on House Appropriations Committee said, "The American people want Congress to work together to address their top priority: creating jobs. Instead, the Republican majority, in a breath-taking and radical step, has proposed to eliminate Title X funding, which has connected millions of American women to health care since 1970. This Republican Congress is trying to turn back the clock on women’s health and turn back the clock on women’s basic rights. They are taking us back to a day when family planning was not a given opportunity for women. Instead of making it harder for women to get health care, we should be standing up for these vital services. And that is what I will continue to do, on behalf of American women and the families I represent.”
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), in introducing an amendment to restore funding for Title X, said, “Congress should use the continuing resolution to create jobs, not to further the extreme assault on women’s reproductive rights by eliminating the cost effective family planning program. We all agree we must cut spending, but it is reckless to eliminate programs that save taxpayer dollars. In New York, more than 311,000 women are served by Title X funded clinics. That is why I will offer an amendment to restore $317 million for family planning.”
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) said, “If we really want to reduce the need for abortions and reduce the federal deficit, we should double the funding for family planning and preventive care, not eliminate it as is being called for by anti-choice Members of Congress. Studies have shown that such an investment could reduce unplanned pregnancies, prevent and detect diseases like cervical cancer, and save taxpayers nearly $2 billion per year. While we all agree about the need to reduce wasteful spending, eliminating a successful program that saves the taxpayer money and provides critical health care services to our mothers, sisters, and friends is just a bad idea.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, “The real impact of eliminating the Title X program and prohibiting all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the largest women’s health providers in the country, is that millions of women across the country will lose access to basic primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, family planning, contraception, STI testing and treatment, and annual exams.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said, “Instead of going after unemployment or getting our economy on track, Republicans are waging a war against women, and women are taking note. They want to shrink government so small, that it just fits inside our bedrooms. Republicans have proven with their package of anti-choice, anti-women’s legislation, they are working to undermine access to reproductive health care. Now, they have launched an all out assault on birth control, family planning, and in specific on Planned Parenthood, which plays an absolute essential role in our nation’s health care system. Planned Parenthood is really the brand right now for women’s health care. Last week, 99 of my colleagues joined me in sending a letter to Speaker Boehner strongly opposing Rep. Pence’s legislation, which is squarely targeted at Planned Parenthood.”
“For 95 years, Planned Parenthood has been a trusted health care provider. One in five American women has received care from a Planned Parenthood health center during her lifetime, and last year three million patients came to one of our more than 800 health centers. We are trusted by millions of women and families, and we deliver care to women who need it,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “What many people don’t know is that more than 90% of our health care services are preventive. We are an expert in family planning — and last year, we provided birth control to nearly 2.5 million patients. In fact, every year we prevent an estimated 612,000 unintended pregnancies.”
One hundred members of Congress signed a letter showing widespread support for Planned Parenthood. The letter declared, “We are writing to strongly oppose efforts designed to undermine women’s access to basic, preventive health care and the women’s health providers they rely on in their communities. In particular, we are deeply concerned about the impact that H.R. 217, the ‘Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,’ [Rep. Pence’s companion, standalone bill] would have on American women and their families. H.R. 217 is aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood health centers.”
In addition, House members are planning to host a Special Order Hour on Tuesday evening, to focus on the House Leadership’s attempts to eliminate the Title X National Family Planning program and to strip all federal funds from Planned Parenthood.
Just last week, under the guise of deficit reduction, the House Republican leadership continued their assault on women’s health by announcing two extreme proposals that target women’s health care programs and women’s health providers.
In the House Appropriations Committee’s FY11 Continuing Resolution, they proposed to completely eliminate the Title X family planning program. This program has provided millions of American women with lifesaving health care since Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1970. Gutting Title X would deny five million American women preventive care, including annual exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraceptive services, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
In addition, Rep. Mike Pence — with the full support of Speaker John Boehner — announced that he will offer an amendment to prohibit all Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any federal funds to provide affordable cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing, and testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections.
To underscore the far reach of Rep. Pence’s proposal, it would also cut off the approximately 1.4 million Medicaid patients served by Planned Parenthood from their source of health care. Forty-eight percent (approximately 1.4 million) of Planned Parenthood’s patients use Medicaid for their health care coverage and as a direct result of the Pence amendment, they would lose access to their health care provider.
In doing so, the Pence amendment also reverses a long-standing patient protection in Medicaid law that ensures that Medicaid patients can access family planning services with any willing provider.
Rep. Pence’s proposal is an unprecedented, ideological attack on a specific health care provider that will result in more women losing access to the very basic health care they need.
More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood health centers offer is preventive, yet Rep. Pence is steadfast in wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, because it also provides women with abortion care.
Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses carry out nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams, and its health centers also provide contraception to nearly 2.5 million patients and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Planned Parenthood is also an essential health care provider. For six in 10 women who receive medical care from doctors and nurses at family planning health centers like those run by Planned Parenthood, these centers are their main source of health care.
Combined, these two extreme proposals would completely undermine millions of women’s access to basic primary and preventive health care, such as lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, HIV testing and counseling, STI testing and treatment, and annual exams.