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Sen. Franken, Senate Colleagues Oppose ‘Extreme’ GOP Plan to End Support for Women’s Health and Family Planning Services

Sen. Franken Urges Senate Leaders to Reject Harmful Policy Riders in House Republican Budget that Would Eliminate Funding for Title X, Planned Parenthood

Monday, April 4, 2011

The health care of nearly 60,000 Minnesotans would be jeopardized if extreme proposals by House Republicans to eliminate support for women's health and family planning programs and providers are passed by the Senate, said U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) today. Sen. Franken joined 40 of his colleagues in urging Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to oppose the proposals.

"Planned Parenthood provides indispensible health care services for women across our state, and across the country," said Sen. Franken. "Countless communities throughout Minnesota benefit from the work they do. I don't know how we would get by without them."

In the letter to the Minority and Majority leaders, the senators point out that the Title X family planning program serves about five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these individuals and families rely on Title X-funded health care providers as their primary source of health care.

The letter also expresses the senators' opposition to the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control and other preventive health care services. Planned Parenthood serves three million women and families nationwide each year, providing more than 3.9 million tests for sexually transmitted diseases, 737,000 pap tests and 720,000 breast exams.

Sen. Franken was joined by Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Tim Johnson (D-S.Dak.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).


The full text of the senators' letter is below:


Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

During this economic downturn, many women and families are struggling to make ends meet, and are relying on women's health and family planning centers for access to essential health care services such as breast exams, other cancer and disease screenings, contraception and more.

We write to you today to affirm our strong support for making women's health and family planning services affordable and available, and ask that you stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House to eliminate support for women's health and family planning programs and providers that serve millions of women and families.

We know the Title X family planning program serves nearly five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these people rely on Title X funded health care providers as their primary source of health care. Yet, the House-passed Continuing Resolution would eliminate all funding for Title X and leave millions of Americans at risk.

We also oppose the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health care services to three million Americans every year.

Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies.

Protecting women's health is a goal we can all agree on. We urge you to stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House that would harm women and their families.

Sincerely,

 

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