January 05, 2017

Cortez Masto, Senate Democrats Urge Against Speaker Ryan’s “Harmful, Partisan Path” to Defunding Planned Parenthood

Senators make clear in new letter to Speaker Ryan they are prepared to fight back to protect millions of women and families nationwide who rely on Planned Parenthood

Washington, DC – Today, following an announcement that House Republicans will attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in reconciliation legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto joined 36 Democratic Senators to send a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan demanding that Republicans drop their planned attack on the nation’s largest women’s health care provider.

“Your decision to continue down this harmful, partisan path this year will put the wellbeing and lives of women nationwide at risk—and we urge you to put those patients’ needs ahead of scoring political points,” wrote Cortez Masto and other Senators in the letter.

The Senators point out that Planned Parenthood serves roughly 2.5 million patients across the country and many families rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary source of health care. The Senators also warn Republicans that the “overwhelming share of Americans—69 percent of voters including 56 percent of Republicans—support Planned Parenthood.”

The full text of the letter is below and HERE:

January 6, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan

Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

The Capitol Building

Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Speaker Ryan:

As we begin this new Congress, we are outraged at your promise to defund Planned Parenthood as Republicans rush to rip apart the health care system, but we are not surprised. We have seen this before. In fact, since 2007 when Vice President-elect Pence first waged the battle to defund our nation’s largest provider of women’s health care, we have seen 16 attempts and reached the brink of shutdown, led by extreme, right-wing Republicans to undermine and end women’s access to care at clinics across the country. Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood would make America sick again by denying women access to vital, affordable health care services.

Your decision to continue down this harmful, partisan path this year will put the wellbeing and lives of women nationwide at risk—and we urge you to put those patients’ needs ahead of scoring political points.

An overwhelming share of Americans—69 percent of voters including 56 percent of Republicans—support Planned Parenthood and oppose shutting down the federal government over its funding. One in five women uses Planned Parenthood as her primary means of health care. In fact, Planned Parenthood serves 2.5 million patients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, sixty percent of whom are women and families who are Medicaid beneficiaries. In one-fifth of the counties in which they are located, Planned Parenthood sites are the sole safety-net family planning center. Doubling down on repeal and defunding Planned Parenthood ensures that women across the country must bear twice the burden.

Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood would harm communities who can least afford it, ultimately increasing health care costs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) when scoring previous Republican proposals to defund Planned Parenthood made clear that the people most likely to experience reduced access to care would likely reside in areas without access to other health care clinics or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations. CBO even estimated that the House’s extreme right-wing bill to fully defund Planned Parenthood would cost taxpayers over $130 million because 45 percent of all births are paid for by Medicaid.

As you know, President-elect Trump praised Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail and affirmed that it has done “very good work for millions of women.” We urge you to reconsider putting partisan political fights ahead of women’s access to health care.   The women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood are Republicans and Democrats alike—and they did not vote for an extreme political agenda that undermines their access to quality, affordable health care at providers they trust. We urge you to stop the attack on Planned Parenthood immediately.