Statement by Patricia McGeown, President/ CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP), on Senate Vote to Reject H. Con. Res. 36, a Proposal to Bar Planned Parenthood from Receiving Federal Funds to Provide Preventive Health Care
UHPP released the following statement today after the House passed and the Senate rejected H. Con. Res. 36, a proposal that would bar Planned Parenthood from providing preventive health services including birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment, and HIV testing to patients who are covered by Medicaid and other federal programs.
"Today, the US Senate listened to millions of American women and voted, 58-42, to reject H. Con. Res. 36, an extreme proposal to bar Planned Parenthood from providing preventive health service including birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI (including HIV) testing to patients who are covered by Medicaid and other federal programs.
"Planned Parenthood applauds the members of Congress who stood up for women's health and voted against this proposal. UHPP would like to extend a special thank you for the immense efforts and continuing support put forth by U.S. Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, as well as the support we received from U.S. Representative Paul Tonko.
"This vote is a major victory for women's health and the millions of women who go to Planned Parenthood for health care. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood alone serves over 11,000 women and men each year at health centers located in Albany, Hudson and Troy. The majority (66%) of these patients have an income below the federal poverty line and many of them see no other health care provider.
"Hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country made their voices heard in support of Planned Parenthood and opposed this radical proposal by calling Congress, writing and e-mailing their elected officials, and attending rallies. The grassroots support for Planned Parenthood was widespread and deep.
"UHPP activists turned out for numerous events in Albany and Columbia County, including a rally organized by University at Albany students that drew eighty-five supporters to the federal Leo O'Brien building to show that women's health matters. Two busloads of Capitol Region residents including UHPP staff, clients and supporters traveled by bus to NYC to rally, while UHPP staff and Board members made numerous visits to the offices of state and federal officials to make the case. Over 400 local supporters signed I Stand with Planned Parenthood postcards and petitions while others staffed phone banks patching callers through to legislator offices before key votes. As a final push, two buses carrying supporters from Saratoga Springs and Albany locations joined another ten buses from New York State locations to travel to Washington, DC, for the Stand Up for national Protect Women's Health rally and lobby day at the U.S. Capitol on April 7th.
"The proposal was rightly rejected by Democrats and Republicans-by those who support abortion rights, as well as those who oppose abortion rights because the extreme measure would have denied women family planning and resulted in an increase in unintended pregnancies.
"Even though the House Republican leadership insisted on forcing an up or down vote in the House and Senate on this extreme proposal today, all their political maneuvering accomplished was to show that the House leadership is willing to sacrifice women's health to advance a narrow ideological agenda.
"While we are outraged that the House voted to pass H. Con. Res. 36 by a vote of 241-185, the outcome of that vote was not a surprise.
"Any member of Congress who voted for this extreme proposal just cast a vote against women's access to lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control. Attacking Planned Parenthood's preventive care hurts women while doing nothing to improve the national deficit or fix the economy.
"More than 90 percent of the health care Planned Parenthood provides - and 100 percent of the care it provides through federal programs - is preventive. We do not want one woman to be diagnosed with advanced cancer that our health centers could have detected early through screening, and we're appalled that a fringe element of Congress would continue to put its narrow political agenda ahead of women's health and safety.
"Thankfully, the Senate has made clear the de-funding of Planned Parenthood is unacceptable and rejected it."
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is a community-based non-profit organization providing advocacy, education and reproductive health care services in the capital region since 1934. Our service area includes Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties. In 2010, the agency provided health care services to over 11,000 men, women and youth who made over 23,000 visits to our health centers located in Albany, Troy and Hudson. UHPP community educators also provided 366 programs to 4,805 participants.
The UHPP mission is to promote healthy sexuality and reproductive choice through exceptional services, honest education and fearless advocacy.
Blue Carreker, 518-434-5678
April 15, 2011