During the August District Work Period, I held meetings through the 9th District with community members and stakeholders. This provides me with valuable feedback from my constituents to advocate for the issues important to them. I held a women’s health roundtable to discuss the state of women’s reproductive health on the federal, state and local levels, and to hear from constituents about issues most pressing to them. I greatly appreciated having many community members in attendance to discuss continued access to comprehensive reproductive health services for all women and men, the role of Title X funding and Planned Parenthood in reaching this goal, and recent attacks on Planned Parenthood and potential efforts to defund the organization.
I am pro-choice. I am simply uncomfortable with the government making such health decisions that should be left to women and their doctors. I believe that a woman should have the right to make their own health care decisions, regardless of where she lives or how much money she makes.
Because I believe in access to comprehensive reproductive health services, I am a proud original cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that prohibits state action concerning abortion services in key areas like barring special tests (like ultrasounds) that are not required for medically similar procedures; restricting abortion providers’ abilities to delegate tasks, prescribe or administer drugs, or administer telemedicine; and requiring women to go to medically unnecessary appointments before having an abortion. In addition, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2972, the EACH Woman Act, which would ensure that low-income women are provided coverage for abortion by Medicaid.
In light of the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood through heavily-edited, sensationalized and disingenuous videos Senate leadership voted on August 3, 2015 to bring a vote to defund Planned Parenthood to the Senate floor for consideration. Republicans in the Senate failed to reach the 60-vote threshold that is necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster and allow debate on this bill. I commend my Senate colleagues for opposing that vote and for their efforts to stop a vote to defund Planned Parenthood.
Now, a few dozen extreme House Republicans are threatening another irresponsible government shutdown because they want to see Planned Parenthood defunded. I am vehemently opposed to this effort, and will continue to support Planned Parenthood in Congress. Planned Parenthood is a central provider of equitable access to healthcare for both men and women of underserved communities across the United States, and Congress must invest in its continued funding.
I will continue to support and advocate for women’s rights and policies that protect women’s right to choose and improve access to family planning services.