"Instead of Attacking Unemployment, Republicans Are Waging a War Against Women"
In addition to destroying jobs and threatening economic growth, the GOP spending bill (HR 1) on the floor this week eliminates Title X—a program that provides life-saving health services, including HIV testing, cancer screening, blood-pressure testing, and contraceptive services for more than 5 million women (two-thirds of whom are uninsured). The contraceptive services and supplies provided at Title X clinics are cost-effective and prevent nearly a million unintended pregnancies every year.
And as Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) explained tonight, eliminating Title X funding isn’t fiscally responsible:
The cuts were proposed under the guise of being fiscally responsible, but nothing could be further from the truth. For every dollar — and I want to say this maybe twice it is so important because nobody seems to have gotten this except my new friend from Illinois — for every dollar invested in family planning services, taxpayers save $4. So if you think you’re going to save yourself some money, go back to your planning board for that. But cutting family planning is not fiscally responsible, will not reduce the United States bottom line.
On top of the HR 1’s provisions that endanger the lives and safety of millions of American women, the House debated an amendment by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) tonight to eliminate any federal funds that Planned Parenthood receives. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) explains the amendment:
We were told by our Republican colleagues they were here to create jobs, to turn the economy around, and to reduce the deficit. But here they go again, spending time on an extreme, divisive, social agenda. In a breathtaking and radical step, the Republican majority has already proposed to eliminate Title X funding, which has connected millions of American women to health care since 1970. And now this amendment by the Congressman from Indiana continues the same pattern of contempt for women’s health and basic rights. With this amendment, my Colleague is trying to specifically exclude one provider of legal health services, Planned Parenthood, from federal funds. This amendment has nothing to do with the deficit. It is an attack by one Congressman on one organization, and it needlessly puts the lives of American women in danger.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) notes while this amendment limits access to birth control for women, House Republicans passed an amendment yesterday to give contraception to horses:
Our constituents sent us here to create jobs. Instead, the majority is pushing an extreme right-wing agenda to limit women’s health. In the course of considering the underlying bill that eliminates the federal family planning program, a member of the majority, in fact, another gentleman from Indiana, proposed providing birth control to horses. And now we’re considering an amendment attacking Planned Parenthood, which has provided health services to one in five American women. So it seems to me that Republicans believe that horses should have family planning but women should not. I strongly urge those who support this affront to women’s health to clearly explain to their constituents that they want to make it harder to access pap tests, breast exams, routine gynecological examinations, flu vaccinations, smoking cessation services, cholesterol screening, contraceptives, and all of the other services that Planned Parenthood provides. My friends, this is not about abortion. Federal law prohibits federal dollars from being spent on abortion. This amendment is about denying women access to basic health services.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) summarizes, “instead of attacking unemployment, Republicans are waging a war against women”:
House Republicans have made their agenda really clear. What’s obvious it’s really not about creating jobs or addressing the economy, but rather the extreme agenda is to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care and attack women’s health providers that women rely on in their communities. We’ve seen an all out assault on Planned Parenthood–instead of attacking unemployment, Republicans are waging a war against women. This is not about federal funding of abortion and it is not about quality of care. This is about cutting off women’s access to affordable care in an effort to score political points. This amendment does nothing to improve the economy and will result in lost jobs and it will take away the only source of primary and preventive care from millions of American women.
Watch more videos from the amendment debate including Reps. Lois Capps, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Gwen Moore, Frank Pallone, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
The House will vote on the Pence amendment and the underlying bill later this week, but sadly HR 1 is just one of several bills House Republicans are advancing that endanger women’s health. Congress should be strengthening middle class families, not trying to stop people from getting health services.
UPDATE: The House passed the amendment 240-185. Leader Pelosi on the Pence Amendment at a press conference after it passed: