December 02,2015

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Sam Offerdahl: 202-224-3789

Wyden Blasts Latest Attempt to Defund Planned Parenthood

As Delivered

At the heart of the reconciliation proposal before the Senate is yet another partisan attempt to undermine women’s health by denying funding to Planned Parenthood.

My view is to take away health care choices from women that have nothing to do with abortion, particular after the attack in Colorado last week.

In my view, to take away health choices from American women that have nothing to do with abortion, particularly after the horrific acts last week in Colorado is a tone-deaf act of legislative malpractice that is beneath the United States Senate. Fortunately, it faces an imminent veto pen if it hits the President’s desk.

My hope is that this body will not let it get that far. It is long past time to end the ongoing campaign to undermine the fundamental right of all women to make their own reproductive choices and access affordable, high-quality health care.

Millions of American women – including tens of thousands of Oregonians – turn to Planned Parenthood for the routine health care services this bill puts at risk. And I know I’ve read this list before, but it appears not to be sinking in. So let me repeat it. This bill, for millions of women, could eliminate access to:

  • Pregnancy tests
  • Birth control
  • Prenatal services
  • HIV tests
  • Cancer screenings
  • Vaccinations
  • Testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections
  • Basic physical exams
  • Treatment for chronic conditions
  • Pediatric care
  • Hospital and specialist referrals
  • Adoption referrals
  • Nutrition programs and more

When you wipe out Planned Parenthood’s funding, you dramatically curb women’s access to services that have absolutely nothing to do with abortion. The smear campaign that says otherwise is false.

Senator Murray and I have a proposal that takes a new tack. Our amendment says, instead of putting women’s health care at risk, let’s do more to guarantee that women in Oregon, Washington and across the country get the high-quality care they need. Let’s help clinics treat more women, and let’s help them keep their patients safe when they walk through the door.

The proposal Senator Murray and I have put forward, in my view, is worthy of support from Democrats and Republicans. Improving women’s health care ought to be a bipartisan cause. 

In contrast, the reconciliation bill before the Senate is a rejection of bipartisanship. All it will accomplish is pumping more noise into the echo chamber and drive the parties further apart. And the vitriolic fever pitch, there are real consequences.

The politics of hostility and extremism help spark a culture of violence, and amid that dangerous and toxic culture, a man walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic determined to do enormous harm. It was an attack on the American public and an attack on women’s health. It cannot be tolerated, it must be fought and resisted at every opportunity.

At a moment when the Senate has a long list of issues to wrap up before the year’s end and many serious challenges to face, now is the time to solve problems, not create them. So I urge my colleagues to support the Murray-Wyden amendment and end the campaign against women’s health.