News Releases

Senator Murray: GOP Trying to Score Political Points by Attacking Women's Health

Feb 08 2012

"Despite what Republicans may claim, this is about access to contraception"



(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke at a press conference with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) to reaffirm her commitment to ensuring that women have access to the full range of preventative health services covered under the Affordable Care Act, including birth control.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“…we have seen a lot of political attacks on women’s rights. And each time those attacks come - each time those on the other side attempt to exploit women’s rights for their own political gain – we hear the same excuses.  Every time we hear that it’s not really an attack on women’s health care – it’s always about something else.”

“Well, we have news for the Republicans – this is about contraception. And if they think it isn’t, we’d love to hear them tell the women whose access to contraception is on the line that it’s not.”

“This is a fight to protect the rights of the millions of Americans who do use contraceptives, who believe that family planning is the right choice for them, and who don’t deserve to have an extreme minority’s ideology prevent them from getting the coverage they deserve.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s remarks follow:

“You know – with the combined years of experience of all those on stage here today – I can tell you that we have seen a lot of political attacks on women’s rights.

“And each time those attacks come - each time those on the other side attempt to exploit women’s rights for their own political gain – we hear the same excuses.

“Every time we hear that it’s not really an attack on women’s health care – it’s always about something else.

“We’re told that attacks on abortion rights aren’t an infringement on a women’s right to choose – it’s really about state’s rights or religion.

“We’re told that accessing emergency contraception isn’t about our ability to make our own family planning decisions – it’s really about protecting pharmacists or the scientific process.

 “Just last week we were told that Komen’s decision to limit life-saving mammograms for women wasn’t about their opposition to Planned Parenthood, it was really about a congressional investigation.

“And guess what – this issue is no different.

“In fact, just earlier today, in this very room, you had a Republican Senator make the claim that this debate “isn’t an issue about contraception.”

“The Republicans then went on to explain that it was about everything else:

“It’s about their opposition to a health care bill that will provide millions of underserved men and women with health care.

“They said it’s about the Catholic church, despite the fact that the vast majority of Catholics utilize contraception services.

“That it’s about freedom – except apparently not our freedom to make our own health care choices. 

“Well, we have news for the Republicans – this is about contraception!

“And if they think it isn’t, we’d love to hear them tell the women whose access to contraception is on the line that it’s not. 

“Tell that to Sherry, an x-ray technician in California who works at a Catholic hospital.

“Shelly’s job is no different than an x-ray technician at the hospital across town, but she could lose coverage just because of where she works.

“Tell it to Michelle, a labor and delivery nurse at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz – who said about her contraceptive services “it’s something that we've come to expect for ourselves and our family."

“Tell it to all those employed by these schools, universities and institutions who don’t necessarily share their employers religious beliefs.

“I’m guessing those who are making political hay out of this issue won’t.

“I’m guessing that they’ll continue to make this argument about everything but women’s reproductive health.

“Because attacks on women’s rights never come without being disguised as something else.

“But I’ll tell you what - those of us on this stage are not fooled.

“And the American people shouldn’t be either.

“This is a fight to protect the rights of the millions of Americans who do use contraceptives—who believe that family planning is the right choice for them— and who don’t deserve to have an extreme minority’s ideology prevent them from getting the coverage they deserve.”