Republican leaders also restricted the ability of women to access birth control- despite the fact that Zika can have devastating consequences for a woman’s pregnancy. The Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill by a vote of 52-48.
Quote from Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation:
“This bill does not value the lives of women and children. However it does shine a blinding light on Republican leaders’ thinly veiled hypocrisy. Republican leadership have gone out of their way to refuse to put even one dollar towards family planning clinics in the midst of this Zika crisis. Their bill shortchanges a looming public health crisis by hundreds of millions, and restricts the types of providers, including Planned Parenthood, from helping where they are needed most.
“As one of the leading reproductive health providers, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the kind irreparable harm a politically motivated stunt like this can do to women and children. We need a real response that empowers women and stops the Zika virus from inflicting suffering on families in America and across the globe.”
The package falls $800 million short of the President’s request, strips funds from the Affordable Care Act and the ongoing public health crisis Ebola, fails to provide dedicated funding for family planning and maternal health services, and uses a funding mechanism that limits the types of providers who can provide critical services during a public health emergency,
Slate: “When right-wing activists politicize a public health crisis and shut out Planned Parenthood, one of the best resources for pregnancy prevention, it’s poor women and their children who suffer most.”
Wash Post: “The legislation would limit payments for birth-control services, an indirect way of defunding Planned Parenthood, long a GOP talisman. At this moment, it seems terribly punitive, coming as the nation faces a virus that puts pregnant women at risk and is spread through sexual contact as well as by mosquitoes.”
In an op-ed published today by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the groups call the bill “inadequate“ and “unacceptable,” pointing out that Zika “takes advantage of existing health disparities.” They write: "In the U.S., many of the states expected to be most intensely hit by Zika are the very same places where state lawmakers have decimated access to family planning, dismantled access to safe and legal abortion and refused to expand Medicaid coverage." Family planning is one of the primary defenses against the Zika virus, a fact pointed out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Women’s health care providers like Planned Parenthood are an important part of the health care ecosystem, providing critical gynecological care in partnership with other providers. In the wake of Zika, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has been working with the CDC to provide our approximately 650 health centers nationwide with the most up-to-date information about Zika to our 2.5 million patients and educate them about the best ways to protect themselves from the virus. Many of the states expected to be most intensely hit by Zika, like Texas and Florida, are the very same places where state lawmakers have decimated access to reproductive health care, dismantled access to safe and legal abortion and refused to expand Medicaid coverage.
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 media office: 212-261-4433
June 28, 2016