FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2015
“This new bill is a farce. Instead of protecting women’s access to the reproductive-health care that they need, anti-choice senators are attempting to misappropriate vital funds. Let’s be clear: this legislation will hurt women and greatly limit our ability to access high quality affordable health care.
“Once again, anti-choice Republicans in Congress are trying to play doctor and determine which medical care women can receive. This Republican majority in Congress should stick to doing what they do best — naming post offices and leave medical decisions up to doctors and patients.
“It is shameful to watch Republicans in Congress race to embrace the extremist groups behind the highly deceptive Planned Parenthood recordings.
“Not only does this legislation prevent $540 million worth of cancer screenings, STI testing and treatments, contraception, and reproductive health care education and outreach from reaching family-planning providers, but it claims to funnel these funds into unnamed women’s health services. For all we know, these services could be “abstinence-only” programs or Crisis Pregnancy Centers that shame and lie to women.
“NARAL Pro-Choice America continues to stand with Planned Parenthood and the 2.7 million women and men who rely on their services each year.”
Although the Ernst bill implies that it will continue funding for family-planning services, the operative language of the bill makes absolutely no commitment to that. In fact, the bill’s operative language is deliberately vague. Therefore, the bill is completely unacceptable for the following reasons:
- Women’s health services are not interchangeable. The Ernst bill claims to continue funding for activities “in support of women’s health.” But lawmakers can’t devastate the nation’s family-planning program by defunding Planned Parenthood and then pretend to fix it by promising funds in some other unspecified area of women’s health that they deem acceptable. Does it help a woman who specifically needs a Pap smear to be offered measles vaccine? That idea is preposterous – yet vaccines are specifically mentioned as another service that could be funded with the dollars that currently go to Planned Parenthood.
- If the bill strips funds from Planned Parenthood’s family-planning services, it could actually redirect those dollars to activities that are blatantly anti-choice and hurt women, such as “abstinence-only” programs and Crisis Pregnancy Centers that shame and lie to women. Because the bill’s language is deliberately vague, nothing would preclude this windfall to such dangerous activities – and in fact, anti-choice lawmakers and advocates often hold out these types of programs as beneficial for women’s health.