Representatives stand up for Planned Parenthood

Some quotes from last night’s floor debate in the House over Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to deny Planned Parenthood federal funding:

The realest of real talk from Rep. Gwen Moore (WI):

(For transcript, click here and ctrl-F “Moore”)

More personal testimony from Rep. Jackie Speier (CA): Mr. Chairman, I had really planned to speak about something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey has just put my stomach in knots, because I’m one of those women he spoke about just now.

I had a procedure at 17 weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix, and that procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost the baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. To think that we are here tonight debating this issue, when the American people if they are listening are scratching their heads and wondering: What does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit? And the answer is: Nothing at all.

There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood and it was played out in this room tonight. Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide services for family planning. Planned Parenthood has a right to offer abortions. The last time I checked, abortions were legal in this country.

Now, you may not like Planned Parenthood. So be it. There are many on our side of the aisle that don’t like Halliburton, and Halliburton is responsible for extortion, for bribery, for 10 cases of misconduct in the Federal database for a $7 billion sole source contract. But do you see us over here filing amendments to wipe out funding for Halliburton? No. Because, frankly, that would be irresponsible.

Click here to tell your representative to support Planned Parenthood.

After the jump, more statements in solidarity…

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX): So this is not all peaches and roses. We are simply standing here and saying, allow them to do their work, which is assisting a young woman
by the name of Karen, 28 years old, who was between jobs, newly married, and did not have any health care. She saw the results of a pregnancy test that she got from the drugstore and couldn’t believe what it said. She didn’t know where else to go. She was frightened, 28 years old. But she went to Planned Parenthood. And what she said, without any pressure, she had the test and discovered that she was pregnant. And the nurse didn’t ask her any indicting question; simply said, what do you want to do? And she thought about it, and she decided to say she wanted to have the baby. Don’t let those stories go untold where women are counseled and they go forth with their plans with the idea that they have someone to help them along, even provide them with services to be able to carry that baby to term.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT): This is not about abortion. The real-world implication of this legislation will be to say to 19,000 women in the State of Vermont, from one end of the State to the other, No, you cannot have access to cervical cancer screening, you can’t have breast cancer screening, you can’t get evidence-based sex education. We are a better Nation than that. We are a better Congress than that.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY): These proposed cuts to family planning represent the opening salvo in an all-out war on women’s health. I have been a soldier on the other side of that war for several decades. I have served now in three legislatures. In two of them this was one of the issues that came up continuously, is what we would do. In most cases, men in either blue or gray suits felt compelled and competent to tell women what they could do with their lives.

Rep. Henry Waxman (CA): Take that money away from [Planned Parenthood], they’re not going to be able to serve the women who need those services. So where will those people go? Are they going to go to the community health centers? Well, this particular funding bill takes out a billion dollars from the community health centers. Where else can they go? Are they going to look to the Medicaid program? One of the entitlements that the Republicans most want to savage is Medicaid. Then where can they go? Are they going to go to the exchange in a couple of years that will be available under the Affordable Care Act? Of course not. The Republicans are trying to repeal that law. What will be the consequences? The consequences will not diminish the number of abortions. The consequences will be to deny women, and men, who may go to a clinic or to Planned Parenthood in order to get basic medical services.

Rep. Ted Deutch (FL): We understand what this amendment is about. This is not an amendment about abortion. This is an amendment about clamping down on a clinic that provides medical services whose politics those on the other side simply do not agree with. This is about the opportunity to move forward with something that can provide those health care services: with clinics that can help save lives. Members, I ask, as we go forward today, that we think about the opportunity we have here to cast a vote that supports women, to cast a vote that supports families, and to take what will be the most pro-family vote we will have an opportunity to cast in this CR debate: that is a vote against this amendment.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA): And if you prevent Planned Parenthood from providing advice and services on contraception, we know for a certainty, especially in the communities that they provide services to, we are going to have an increase in the number of abortions in this country. That is the natural consequence of what is on the table here in this amendment. You are going to reduce funding for contraception; you are going to have more unwanted pregnancies, and you are going to have more abortions. Is that is what this debate is about? Is that what we are trying to do here? I used to think it was different. I thought we had some level of agreement on this, that the goal was to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and that is how we were going to reduce abortions in this
country. I am disheartened by this amendment.

Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ): Basically what the Republicans said is that if Planned Parenthood agreed not to perform abortions, then they could continue to perform their other functions. But if they insist on performing abortions, then we are going to starve them for money and they won’t be able to provide contraceptives and family planning and all the other health care services for women that are so important here. To me, that is just an incredible statement, because essentially what you are saying is we will extort this. We don’t really care about all these other services that they are providing. What we really care about is abortion. And if you sign on the dotted line, then you can continue to perform the other health care services, as long as you don’t perform the service that is allowed under the law of the land.

Rep. Kathy Castor (FL): Cutting off these funds and eliminating this care for women will not stop abortion, which is their claim. Only family planning will stop abortion. The major consequence of wiping out title X, which really means that all-important trip to the doctor’s office for a woman who doesn’t have any place else to go for their breast cancer screening, their annual exam, the only consequence, major consequence, will be eliminating health care for millions of women while also increasing the bill to taxpayers.

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