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Planned Parenthood Launches Aggressive Grassroots Effort Opposing Anti-Women’s Health Bills

House Leadership Focuses On Taking Away Health Benefits, Ignores Jobs and Economy

This week, Planned Parenthood will launch an aggressive grassroots effort opposing a series of anti-women’s health bills as the House leadership continues its assault on women’s health. Two House committees will hold hearings on anti-choice legislation that does nothing to address the economy.

“The House leadership is clearly out of touch with the American people, as they are continuing to focus on legislation that takes away health care women currently have instead of focusing on jobs and the economy,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The objective of these bills is to undermine women’s access to health care.”

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing on H.R. 3. This is Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) far-reaching anti-women’s health bill that would take comprehensive private health insurance coverage away from millions of American women, even those who face serious health problems from a pregnancy; impose new tax penalties on individuals and small businesses that purchase comprehensive private health insurance coverage; and take away existing coverage protections for women with life-threatening pregnancies.

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on H.R. 358. This is Rep. Joe Pitts’ (R-PA) bill, which revives the failed Stupak abortion ban from two years ago — cutting off millions of American women from the private health insurance coverage they have today by effectively banning abortion coverage in state-based health insurance exchanges established under the health care law.  Representative Pitts’ bill would also prohibit states from ensuring that women have access to information about how to get access to abortion services.

Next week, the House is expected to take a vote on H.R. 217, Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) bill, which would deny access to preventive care for millions of women by prohibiting health centers across the country, including Planned Parenthood health centers, from receiving federal funding for preventive care, including annual exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, contraceptive services, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. This funding, called the Title X Family Planning Program, has been available since 1970 and provides this basic, preventive health care to five million women a year.

“Collectively, these bills are an unprecedented assault on women’s health, would take away health care benefits and rights women currently have, would impose new restrictions that go far beyond current law, and are opposed by a significant majority of Americans,” said Richards. “We urge the House leadership to drop these bills entirely, and do what the American people elected them to do — focus on jobs and the economy.”

Already, 59 leading public health, medical professional, and advocacy groups oppose the Smith and Pitts bills, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. (Full list below.)

POLLING ON SMITH AND PENCE

It’s clear that a vast majority of Americans oppose these anti-choice bills. A recent Hart Research poll shows: (full polling memo HERE.)

  • 74 percent of voters disagree with a key provision of the Smith bill, making women who choose to purchase private health insurance with their own money pay higher taxes if that insurance includes abortion coverage (including 71 percent of voters who voted for the Republican candidate for Congress in 2010; and 73 percent who identify as independents).
  • 71 percent of voters disagree with the practical effect of the Pence bill, cutting federal funding for preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers around the country (including 60 percent of voters who voted for the Republican candidate for Congress in 2010; and 70 percent who identify as independents).

GRASSROOTS ACTIVITY

Planned Parenthood is organizing a range of grassroots and online activities this week to highlight public opposition to these anti-women’s health bills, including:

  • Activating supporters nationwide to call and e-mail their members of Congress to oppose these bills.
  • Organizing local affiliates and supporters to do in-district visits with Congressional offices to reinforce opposition to these bills at the local level.
  • Organizing a National Call-in Day with progressive groups for wide range of supporters to call their members to oppose these anti-women’s health bills.
  • Circulating an online petition, titled “Stand with Planned Parenthood,” that has already generated more than 40,000 signatures.

FACT SHEETS ON SMITH BILL AND PENCE BILL

Read Planned Parenthood’s Fact Sheet on Smith Bill:
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/fact_Smith_Fact_Sheet_012111.pdf

Read Planned Parenthood’s Fact Sheet on Pence Bill:
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/fact_Pence_Title_X_Fact_020411_vF.pdf

LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSING SMITH BILL (H.R. 3)

Abortion Care Network
Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Justice (AFJ)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Humanist Association
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
American Nurses Association (ANA)
American Public Health Association (APHA)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of American Women (AAUW)
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Catholics for Choice
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Women Policy Studies
EngenderHealth
EQUAL Health Network
Feminist Majority Foundation
Guttmacher Institute
Human Rights Campaign
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – Western Hemisphere Region
Ipas
Law Students for Reproductive Justice
Medical Students for Choice
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation (NAF)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women's Conference Committee
National Women's Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
Population Connection
Raising Women's Voices Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Religious Institute
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Third Way
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Women of Reform Judaism
YWCA USA

LIST OF 59 ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSING PITTS BILL (HR 358)
Abortion Care Network
Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Justice (AFJ)
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Humanist Association
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
American Nurses Association (ANA)
American Public Health Association (APHA)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Association of American Women (AAUW)
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Catholics for Choice
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Women Policy Studies
EngenderHealth
EQUAL Health Network
Feminist Majority Foundation
Guttmacher Institute
Human Rights Campaign
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) – Western Hemisphere Region
Ipas
Law Students for Reproductive Justice
Medical Students for Choice
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation (NAF)
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women's Conference Committee
National Women's Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
Population Connection
Raising Women's Voices
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Religious Institute
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Third Way
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society
Women of Reform Judaism
YWCA USA

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Contacts

Planned Parenthood Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 02.08.11

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