News Releases

Murray continues to push Republicans for a strong response on Zika in order to protect women and families 

Earlier this year, Murray negotiated a bipartisan, $1.1 billion funding deal with Republicans, only for Republicans to later attach harmful riders restricting women’s access to care 

Several women in the U.S. infected with Zika have already delivered infants with birth defects and others have lost or terminated pregnancies because their fetuses suffered brain damage—LINK 

Murray: “One thing was clear in traveling throughout Washington state these last seven weeks: there shouldn’t be any place for partisanship or politics when it comes to protecting the families and communities we represent”                                

(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, met with new mothers and a representative from Planned Parenthood to continue pressing for a strong, bipartisan emergency funding response to combat the Zika virus. In remarks delivered during a press conference, Senator Murray denounced Republican inaction on Zika as an “ideological battle against Planned Parenthood”—and on women’s health in general—and urged them to work together and pass a bipartisan bill with Democrats. Senator Murray also recalled recently meeting a nurse in Seattle, Washington, who told her that “people and politicians who do not take Zika seriously do not take the health and wellbeing of women like her and their babies seriously.”

For months, Senator Murray and Senate Democrats have called for a comprehensive response to the Zika virus and made clear that protecting families and communities from this public health emergency should not be a partisan issue. Back in May, Senator Murray broke through the gridlock and dysfunction on this issue and worked across the aisle with LHHS Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) on bipartisan Zika legislation, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly. Since then, Republicans have refused to take action in the face of growing clarity about the risks Zika poses to women and children, even declaring victory after forcing the Administration to redirect other funds to respond to the Zika virus.

Yesterday, Senate Republicans forced a revote on a failed, partisan Zika proposal after returning from a seven week recess, continuing to jeopardize the health and safety of women and children, and failing to listen to families across the country as evident in a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that 65% of Americans believe a government response to Zika should include reproductive health care protections.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“We’re here because once again—in the middle of a public health emergency—Republicans decided to pander to their base with yet another political show vote last night. Once again, women’s health is being used as a political football, with Republicans waging yet another ideological battle against Planned Parenthood. And once again, millions of families are left to wonder whether their elected officials can do even the absolute bare minimum to get something done.”

“…one thing was clear in traveling throughout Washington state these last seven weeks: there shouldn’t be any place for partisanship or politics when it comes to protecting the families and communities we represent. I heard from a nurse in Seattle. Every day, she does everything possible to help other women have healthy babies, and she told me, the situation is terrifying for her patients—women who don’t need any more stressors. And she added that people and politicians who do not take Zika seriously do not take the health and wellbeing of women like her and their babies seriously.”

“So I am hopeful that more and more Republicans who heard from their constituents and public health experts will agree to work with us. We showed here in the Senate that we can work together and pass a bipartisan Zika bill with Democrats and nearly half of Senate Republicans. Let’s get this done.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Thank you.

“First, I want to thank all of the participants that have joined us today.   

“The last—and I mean the last—thing any mother should have to worry about is the health of their child as a result of the Zika virus.   

“And, of course, I want to express my appreciation to everyone at Planned Parenthood for everything you do to stand up for and support women and families across the country, including in my home state of Washington.

“We’re here because once again—in the middle of a public health emergency—Republicans decided to pander to their base with yet another political show vote last night.

“Once again, women’s health is being used as a political football, with Republicans waging yet another ideological battle against Planned Parenthood.

“And once again, millions of families are left to wonder whether their elected officials can do even the absolute bare minimum to get something done.  

“We should have gotten this done before we left for recess.

“When that didn’t happen—Republicans should have brought us back to get to work.

“It’s long past time to act—and these delays have not been without very grave consequences—but it’s not too late.

“So now—it’s up to Republican leaders—and enough is enough.

“Enough attacks on Planned Parenthood.

“Enough attacks on women’s access to constitutionally protected reproductive care and rights and enough with the gridlock and dysfunction.

“Because one thing was clear in traveling throughout Washington state these last seven weeks: there shouldn’t be any place for partisanship or politics when it comes to protecting the families and communities we represent.                                                              

“I heard from a nurse in Seattle.

“Every day, she does everything possible to help other women have healthy babies, and she told me, the situation is terrifying for her patients—women who don’t need any more stressors.

“And she added that people and politicians who do not take Zika seriously do not take the health and wellbeing of women like her and their babies seriously.

“So I am hopeful that more and more Republicans who heard from their constituents and public health experts will agree to work with us.

“We showed here in the Senate that we can work together and pass a bipartisan Zika bill with Democrats and nearly half of Senate Republicans.

“Let’s get this done.

“Every Zika infection prevented is a potential tragedy avoided for an expecting mother—and we should be doing everything we can to protect families from this virus.

“Thank you.”

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