News Releases

Murray: “Political attacks and threats to shut down the government aren’t going to get in the way of women’s access to the care they need.”
 

(Washington, D.C) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee delivered remarks on the Senate floor ahead of a vote on proceeding to a bill that would deny women access to health care by defunding Planned Parenthood. In her remarks, Murray stated that Planned Parenthood is a critical source for health care for women and communities, and warned that defunding the organization would take access to cancer screenings, birth control, STD tests, and other important preventative care away from women across the country.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Today, thanks to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the Senate is unfortunately taking a vote on whether critical health care services should be taken away from millions of women across the country. We’re voting on whether a young woman should be able to go the provider she trusts to get birth control, whether cancer screenings should be more, or less, available to women across the country, and whether the United States Senate is going to turn back the clock on women’s health.”

 

“To me—and to many Democrats and even some Republicans who want to help women get the care they need—it’s deeply disappointing that we are even having this debate, because extreme Republicans have attacked Planned Parenthood and women’s health so many times before. On the budget, on the highway bill, on the Affordable Care Act, and even on the legislation I introduced last week to help wounded veterans start families. That’s right—some of my Republican colleagues were more interested in scoring political points with their extreme base by picking fights over women’s health, than they were in helping wounded veterans.”

 

“My Republican colleagues who support this bill claim it would simply ‘redirect’ funding for Planned Parenthood to other providers. But keep in mind that 2.7 million people visited Planned Parenthood for health care last year. And one out of every five women in the United States will visit a Planned Parenthood center at some point in her life. So Planned Parenthood is a critical source of health care in communities across the country, and claiming that other providers can simply absorb those patients is like saying you can pour a bucket of water into a cup. It just won’t work.”

 

“Instead, what this bill would actually do is take access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other important preventive care away from women. It would leave families and communities without trusted, quality health care providers that they rely on.  And it would mean that in the United States of America—in the 21st century—the Tea Party gets to tell women what doctors they can and can’t go to…I am not going to let that happen, and I know many of my colleagues here today agree. So this legislation is going nowhere.”

 

“And just like we have every other time they’ve tried these partisan tactics, we are sending a very clear message to those who choose political pandering over women’s health.  Political attacks and threats to shut down the government aren’t going to get in the way of women’s access to the care they need. Not on our watch. Because we know millions of women and their families are counting on us, and we’re going to keep standing up for them.”

 

“A few years later, when she turned eighteen, Shannon tried again—and this time she went to a Planned Parenthood center. There, her provider confirmed she did have endometriosis. Her lesions were removed and Shannon got medication to manage the condition. She no longer has to live with chronic pain—and she’s now the proud mother of a little girl. So today, as many members on the other side of the aisle vote to take health care away from women and their families, as they try as hard as they can to appeal to the extreme fringe of their party, no matter the cost, I hope they think of women like Shannon—whose lives are happier and healthier because of the services Planned Parenthood provides to so many communities.”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Thank you, M. President. Today, thanks to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the Senate is unfortunately taking a vote on whether critical health care services should be taken away from millions of women across the country.

 

“We’re voting on whether a young woman should be able to go the provider she trusts to get birth control, whether cancer screenings should be more, or less, available to women across the country, and whether the United States Senate is going to turn back the clock on women’s health.

 

“To me—and to many Democrats and even some Republicans who want to help women get the care they need—it’s deeply disappointing that we are even having this debate.

 

“Because extreme Republicans have attacked Planned Parenthood and women’s health so many times before. On the budget, on the highway bill, on the Affordable Care Act, and even on the legislation I introduced last week to help wounded veterans start families.

 

“That’s right—some of my Republican colleagues were more interested in scoring political points with their extreme base by picking fights over women’s health, than they were in helping wounded veterans.

 

“So unfortunately, it’s clear that they will jump at any opportunity to put politics before women’s health, and the bill we are discussing today that would defund Planned Parenthood is just more of the same.

 

“My Republican colleagues who support this bill claim it would simply ‘redirect’ funding for Planned Parenthood to other providers. But keep in mind that 2.7 million people visited Planned Parenthood for health care last year. And one out of every five women in the United States will visit a Planned Parenthood center at some point in her life.

 

“So Planned Parenthood is a critical source of health care in communities across the country, and claiming that other providers can simply absorb those patients is like saying you can pour a bucket of water into a cup. It just won’t work.

 

“Instead, what this bill would actually do is take access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other important preventive care away from women. It would leave families and communities without trusted, quality health care providers that they rely on.  And it would mean that in the United States of America—in the 21st century—the Tea Party gets to tell women what doctors they can and can’t go to.

 

“M. President, I am not going to let that happen, and I know many of my colleagues here today agree. So this legislation is going nowhere.

 

“And just like we have every other time they’ve tried these partisan tactics, we are sending a very clear message to those who choose political pandering over women’s health.  Political attacks and threats to shut down the government aren’t going to get in the way of women’s access to the care they need. Not on our watch. Because we know millions of women and their families are counting on us, and we’re going to keep standing up for them.

 

“I want to close by sharing the story of a woman from my home state. Shannon is from Tumwater, Washington. When she was a teenager, she experienced ‘unbearable pain’ and went to see a doctor to find out whether she had endometriosis.

 

“This is a serious disease that can keep women from having children if it goes untreated. Her doctor told her she was far too young to have endometriosis, and sent her home. A few years later, when she turned eighteen, Shannon tried again—and this time she went to a Planned Parenthood center.

 

“There, her provider confirmed she did have endometriosis. Her lesions were removed and Shannon got medication to manage the condition. She no longer has to live with chronic pain—and she’s now the proud mother of a little girl.

 

“Shannon said ‘my daughter is truly a gift, and I really have Planned Parenthood to thank for her.’

 

“So today, as many members on the other side of the aisle vote to take health care away from women and their families, as they try as hard as they can to appeal to the extreme fringe of their party, no matter the cost, I hope they think of women like Shannon—whose lives are happier and healthier because of the services Planned Parenthood provides to so many communities.

 

“That’s who I’ll be thinking about. And I’ll be proud to vote no and keep fighting for women, their health, and their rights. Thank you.”