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 on the damaging Senate Republican legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murray called on Republicans to work with Democrats on policies that help families, rather than doubling down on attacking women’s health care and Planned Parenthood.
Murray also introduced an amendment to the legislation to strike the harmful language defunding Planned Parenthood, and support and strengthen women’s health care by creating a fund that supports women’s health and clinic safety.
“I think we can all agree that there is a lot of work Congress needs to get done. Priorities like continuing to improve health care for families, creating jobs, boosting wages and expanding economic security for workers, and making higher education more affordable and accessible, just to name a few,” Murray said. “But unfortunately, instead of working with Democrats to focus on these challenges – the ones families face every day – far too many Republicans have doubled down on a favorite pastime. And that is attacking women’s health and rights in order to pander to their extreme base.”
Murray added, “The House and Senate have voted a total of seventeen times on legislation that would undermine women’s health care and rights. That’s right, M. President – in the year 2015, Republicans in Congress have introduced over 40 bills, and held 17 votes, on whether or not Congress should roll back women’s rights. It’s completely unacceptable. And the bill we are debating today, which would defund Planned Parenthood, is just more of the same – and another effort to force extreme policies through under a fast-track process.”
Murray further explained, “I know many of us here today are thinking of those who are suffering, and who lost loved ones, as a result of the tragic violence in Colorado Springs last week…People across the country, men and women, have had enough of extremism and violence, including at Planned Parenthood health care centers. When a woman seeks health care – constitutionally protected health care – she shouldn’t have to feel threatened in any way. A doctor in a woman’s health clinic should not have to worry about wearing a bulletproof vest under her lab coat. Women’s health care should not be controversial, much less cause for violence, in the 21st century. Women and their families have had enough.”
Murray discussed the “political football” concerning women’s health.
“I’ve heard from so many women and men who are tired of women’s health being undermined, threatened, and used as a political football here in Washington, D.C., who can’t believe that in the 21st century, a Presidential candidate would claim that expanding access to birth control is as easy as setting up a few more vending machines in men’s rooms,” Murray said. “These women and men across the country are speaking up – and saying ‘not on our watch’ to those who want to turn back the clock on women’s health and rights. I’m going to continue bringing their voices and their fight to the Senate floor.”
Murray emphasized, “…I’m proud to be introducing an amendment that would strike the harmful language defunding Planned Parenthood from this legislation – and replace it with a new fund to support women’s health care and clinic safety. There is so much we need to do to improve women’s health care, from strengthening the women’s health care workforce, to expanding access to constitutionally protected reproductive health care, to raising awareness about violence against women, and much more. This fund would offer an opportunity make progress on goals like these, and do more to support women’s health providers and clinics at a time when they need it most. Critically, it would show women and families that their constitutional rights, safety, and health care should come before Tea Party political pandering, not the other way around. And it is fully paid for by the Buffett rule.”
“Democrats are going to keep standing up for women – and encouraging Republicans to focus on the real challenges families face rather than the political attacks their Tea Party base is so focused on,” Murray added. “I urge my colleagues to join me in standing against this harmful effort to defund Planned Parenthood – and delivering a clear message – again – to Republicans in Congress who want to play politics with women’s health: not on our watch.”