Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the ‘‘Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017,” a bill aimed at providing women with increased access to preventive and life-saving cancer screenings.

Planned Parenthood applauded Senators Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand and Tammy Baldwin for protecting and investing in women’s health.

Dana Singiser, Vice President for Public Policy & Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued the following statement:

“We are grateful that these outspoken champions are standing up to protect and promote better healthcare for women across the country. We need more policies that will improve equitable health outcomes for all women, as we know in particular, women of color are disproportionately affected by breast, cervical, and uterine cancer. This is the exact type of policy we need. 

“While the Senate is making moves to protect women, the House is trying to advance the worst legislation for women that we’ve seen in a generation. We should be expanding access to lifesaving health care, not rolling that health care back. We call on the Senate, and all members of Congress, to stand up for women, and advance policy that improves care and saved lives.”

Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services to millions of Americans each year – including more than 650,000 cancer prevention and screening services, including screenings to nearly 72,000 people whose cancer was detected early or whose abnormalities were identified and addressed.  

Breast and gynecologic cancers impact women across the country, especially African American women and Latinx women, every year at staggering rates. Doctors agree that early detection for all of these cancers garners the best outcomes possible. Cancer screenings and education on signs and symptoms are the two most effective ways to detect cancer at an early onset. Planned Parenthood supports the Invest In Women’s Health Act of 2017, because women should be able to lead healthy lives and not face barriers to accessing life-saving cancer prevention, detection, or education. 

Each year, fewer American women are diagnosed with cancer than the year prior, but the number is still too high, especially among women of color and people who are underinsured or uninsured. Here is a snapshot of certain cancer rates in 2013, the most recent year for data:

  • 230,815 women were diagnosed with breast cancer; 40,860 women died from breast cancer
  • Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a similar incidence rate as other races but die at a much higher rate than any other race and for Latinas, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths
  • 83,442 women were diagnosed with the three most common gynecologic cancers: uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancer
  • Cervical cancer rates show that women of color have a disproportionate incident rate and death rate, and worse, uterine cancer rates of incidence are higher among white women but death rates for this cancer are two times higher for black women.

In response to attacks against Planned Parenthood, a group of cancer survivors and those touched by cancer formed The Cancer Survivors Network for Planned Parenthood. The network launched last week with the aim of drawing attention to the need to ensure access to lifesaving screenings and highlight Planned Parenthood’s role in cancer prevention and screening. One of the founders of the network, Jaime Benner, is a breast cancer survivor who credits Planned Parenthood with saving her life. She tells her powerful story in a television ad released in conjunction with the network launch. Watch the ad here. To learn more about the Cancer Survivors Network for Planned Parenthood, visit: www.cancersurvivorsforpp.org/

The Facts on "Defunding" Planned Parenthood

FACT: The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. According to an independent poll released in January, 70% of American voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood - including 50% of Trump voters. A February 2017 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowapoll showed 77% of Iowans support funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care, including 62% of Republicans and 62% of evangelical Christians. This goes along with 20 national polls that all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.

FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community – with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.

FACT: Support for Roe v. Wade is at the highest it’s ever been, according to Pew Research, with 7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion 

FACT: Other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to deny patients using Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood often insist that other providers will fill the gap, but the experts at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families said it flat out: They can't. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”

FACT: Legislation denying access to care at Planned Parenthood was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas passed legislation it was devastating – and shouldn't be repeated in the rest of the country. A significant number of women also lost or had reduced access to primary care providers as a consequence of limiting patient options.

FACT: When lawmakers in Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to “alternative” providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.

FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.

FACT: Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprised 10% of the country’s safety-net centers that offered family planning care in 2010, they served 36% of patients served by such centers. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood was the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood served at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


March 21, 2017