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Washington, DC –– Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in partnership with its Republican Advisory Board, awarded U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) the 2017 Barry Goldwater Award. For over 20 years, Planned Parenthood has recognized Republican lawmakers who champion reproductive health care issues and who fight to ensure the rights granted to women.

Throughout the months-long health care debate, Senator Collins was always clear that she would protect her constituents’ access to health care. In large part because of Senator Collins’ leadership, thousands of Mainers still have access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Planned Parenthood plays a vital role in Maine. Every year, 10,000 Mainers come to Planned Parenthood for care. Without Planned Parenthood, many of these patients would have nowhere else to go for care, as three out of the four Planned Parenthood health centers in Maine are in medically underserved communities.

Statement from U.S. Senator Susan Collins: “Throughout my service in the Senate, I have been a strong proponent of measures to promote and protect women’s health and expand all Americans’ access to quality health care. Planned Parenthood provides important family planning, cancer screening, and basic preventive health care services to millions of women across the country.  For many women, Planned Parenthood clinics provide the only health care services they receive.”

Senator Collins made multiple public statements in opposition to the Senate health care bills due to her concerns that they would block Planned Parenthood patients from receiving care, significantly cut Medicaid, and reduce the number of people who have insurance.  She was one of the first Senators to announce she would vote against the motion to proceed on the Obamacare repeal bill that would have kept Planned Parenthood patients from accessing the care they rely on, and one of the first to oppose repeal without a replacement plan. She voted against every single bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would have “defunded” Planned Parenthood.

Senator Collins is a longtime champion of improving access to family planning and reproductive health services around the world. As a key member of the Appropriations Committee, she has supported efforts to protect funding for international family planning programs and is an original sponsor of the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act, to put an end to the harmful global gag rule.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Senator Collins has been an outspoken champion for women’s health. Thanks to Senator Collins’ steadfast commitment to her constituents, tens of thousands of women in Maine and millions of women across the country still have access to essential health care. Throughout this year, women’s access to health care was truly on the line, and Senator Susan Collins never wavered. Senator Collins has always taken the time to meet with and listen to our patients and our doctors. She has a true understanding of the work Planned Parenthood does, and has been a champion for our patients. We are forever grateful for Senator Collins’ leadership.

Statement from Meagan Gallagher, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern New England:  "Senator Collins understands the unique role we play in Maine. She's listened to the stories of our patients, met with our practitioners and answered the calls from thousands of our supporters. Her unwavering support of the care we provide has been instrumental in protecting our patients from political attacks, and it is an incredible honor to present her with this award as a thank you for standing with us and the millions of people who count on Planned Parenthood every day."

Statement from Randy Moody, National Co-Chair of the Republican Advisory Board: “The 2.4 million people who go to Planned Parenthood’s health centers every year are not going to make a political statement — they’re going to get high-quality health care. Women’s health is an economic issue- especially in rural and underserved areas. I applaud Senator Collins for her incredible work this year in fighting to protect women’s access to reproductive health care.”

Background on the award:

Each year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America presents The Barry Goldwater Award to a public official who has acted as a leader within the Republican Party to support Planned Parenthood.

The award honors the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, an outspoken leader in the Republican Party for decades. "Senator Goldwater was a leading voice in the Republican Party to ensure the rights granted to women following the Roe V. Wade decision."

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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 more than 600 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.

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