Shaheen, Hassan Join Senate Democrats to Demand Speaker Ryan Stop “Harmful, Partisan” Path Toward Defunding Planned Parenthood

January 06, 2017

**In new letter to Speaker Ryan, Senators make clear they are prepared to fight back to protect “wellbeing and lives” of millions of women, men, and families nationwide who rely on Planned Parenthood**

 **Shaheen and Hassan held a press conference with other Senate Democrats yesterday to address Speaker Ryan’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood as part of the process they’ve initiated to repeal the Affordable Care Act**

(Washington, DC) — Today, following an announcement that House Republican leadership will attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in reconciliation legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of Democratic senators led by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan demanding that he and Republican leadership drop attacks on the nation’s largest women’s health care provider and put the health and wellbeing of women and families ahead of their party’s extreme politics.

“We are outraged at your promise to defund Planned Parenthood…but we are not surprised…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,” wrote the Senators in the letter. “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.”

In the letter, the Senators point out that Planned Parenthood serves roughly 2.5 million patients in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and that many families rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary source of health care. The Senators warn Republicans against “doubling down on repeal and defunding Planned Parenthood” as the “overwhelming share of Americans—69 percent of voters including 56 percent of Republicans—support Planned Parenthood.”

“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.”

Other Senators who signed the letter were Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NV), Mazie K Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

 The full text of the letter is below and HERE:

 

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.

 

Sincerely,