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WASHINGTON D.C. - Planned Parenthood issued the following response to President Trump’s State of the Union address to Congress. Speaking in front of more than 500 women activists and allies, Cecile Richards delivered Planned Parenthood’s response to the State of the Union.

Tonight, during the State of the Union, President further stigmatized immigrant communities; touted his work to stack the courts with ideologues who would put politicians in charge of some of the most fundamental decisions a woman has to make; and elevated a bill that will strip health care from 13 million people and  raise premiums for millions more. The President also proposed dangerous restrictions on foreign aid, threatening to politicize life saving global health programs which provide essential family planning services to women and girls around the world.  

Excerpts from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Response to the State of the Union:

“Over the last year, we’ve beaten the odds to protect access to affordable health care for millions of Americans and ensure that Planned Parenthood’s doors are open to the more than 8,000 people who count on us every day.”

“Government should not be a battering ram used to hold us back, deny our rights, and tear us down. It should be a force for good, helping to lift up our families, our communities, and our country. And that is what we are demanding, for the state of our union.”

“But if the government won’t change, we will change the government … [W]omen are the most powerful political force in this country. Together, we are going to transform America into the country we know it can be, where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to live their best life.”

“As we speak, women are rising up – from the Golden Globes to the State of the Union. From the women’s march to an organizing summit last weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, where 350 young Planned Parenthood leaders learned everything they need to know to take over the world. It’s time for a representative democracy that represents all of us!”

“That’s why this year we are banding together to elect more of our own. Women. Immigrants. People of all faiths and backgrounds. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. People who know that black lives matter and health care is a right, not a privilege.”

In the 12 months since Trump took office, fueled by the unrelenting assault on women’s rights in the U.S. and around world by this administration and Congress, women have been organizing and agitating in record numbers.  Each branch of government’s protracted focus on stripping basic health care and rights away from everyday Americans resulted in few 2017 accomplishments and gave rise to historic numbers of people across the country becoming politically active, protesting, contacting their members of Congress, running for office, and turning out at the ballot box — many for the first time.

Since taking office, the Trump-Pence administration has:

  • Allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees;

  • Attacked teen pregnancy prevention programs;

  • Taken away protections for victims of sexual harassment and assault;

  • Eliminated protections for LGBTQ people;

  • Tried to block women from getting care at Planned Parenthood;

  • Undermined our global health programs by reinstating and expanding the harmful global gag rule;

  • Hurt women around the world who count on UNFPA by defunding the reproductive and maternal health agency;

  • and Promoted abstinence-only programs.  

Planned Parenthood now has 11 million supporters, more than 1.5 million of whom have joined since Donald Trump took office. In 2018, Planned Parenthood is continuing to organize this growing volunteer army — with 100 community organizing meetings by the end of February, and launching 600 volunteer-led rapid-response action teams, at least one in every community with a health center. These volunteers and activists will continue to fight back against harmful bills in Congress, but will also push for proactive local policies through school boards, city councils, and state legislatures.

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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.