U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sharply criticized Republican leadership Thursday after they announced that the reconciliation bill dismantling the Affordable Care Act would also include measures to defund Planned Parenthood. In a news conference held at the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Murray joined fellow Senate Democrats to call on Republicans to drop their partisan attack on women and families’ access to health care.
Video of Sen. Murray’s statement is located above and here.
“Thank you all for joining us on short notice…But that is what we were given – was short notice. About a significant step that the House Republicans just announced. They plan to defund Planned Parenthood as part of their attempt to rip apart our health care system,” Sen. Murray began.
“We are here to say we are outraged, as women of the Senate,” she said. “A number of women senators will be here to join us as well – but this is outrageous. This Congress just came into session. The first thing they did was try and change the ethics rule. The second thing they did is their attempt to take away health care from millions of women – and now they’re going to defund Planned Parenthood.”
“The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our [repeal] bill,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters.
Murray held nothing back in response.
“This is the party that ran saying we are going to fight to make sure that our workers and families have a better chance in America,” she said. “And what are they doing? They are taking away women’s opportunity to be who they want to be economically, and to make their own health care choices.”
She reiterated, “We are outraged – and we are going to fight back every step of the way.”
She then recalled a similar time Planned Parenthood was on the chopping block.
“You know this takes me back to 2010 when Gingrich and the House Republicans fought throughout a campaign – saying this is about jobs and the economy – and what was the first thing they did?Introduced legislation to defund Planned Parenthood,” she said.
Murray then called out Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
“It is no coincidence that Pence met with the Republicans yesterday – he is a prime architect of this – and today they announced they’re going to defund Planned Parenthood. We are going to stand and fight for millions of women in this country for their access to their health care to be able to make decisions for themselves.”
“Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “They cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and we’re going to be here for 100 more.”