Chris Van Hollen has an article on Huffington Post this morning decrying GOP efforts to include a provision defunding Planned Parenthood in the current budget reconciliation bill. Here it is in its entirety.
Today, Republicans in Congress plan to make history. Not for growing the economy or helping the middle class — but for sending a bill to President Obama that will defund women’s health care and hurt millions of Americans.
Defunding Planned Parenthood has been a Republican rallying cry for years. But with both the House and Senate passing the budget reconciliation bill, it will be the first time they send legislation to President Obama’s desk that denies lifesaving health options for millions of women. This is all a part of their dangerous effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would take health coverage away from 22 million Americans after 2017 and cause economic hardship for millions of families already struggling to get ahead.
As a statement of principle, defunding Planned Parenthood and dismantling the Affordable Care Act is a crass ideological pitch to the most extreme wing of the Tea Party. As a legislative “accomplishment,” it is an embarrassing and destructive precedent that will mark another low point of this Republican Congress.
Here are the facts: Planned Parenthood is one of the most critical providers of healthcare in this country. Approximately one in five American women has relied on a Planned Parenthood center for care at some point in their lives. It provides communities throughout the nation with quality, affordable health services for both women and men. In my home state of Maryland alone, Planned Parenthood performs about 40,000 STI tests, 4,400 breast health exams, and 4,500 HIV tests every year, and 1,800 men are seen for reproductive health visits. People who are already struggling to make ends meet would be disproportionately harmed if Planned Parenthood lost their federal funding.
Republicans are ignoring these important facts while attempting to invent their own. They are conducting a taxpayer-funded witch hunt — the ‘Select Committee to Attack Women’s Health’ — despite what three different House Committees have already proved: there is no evidence to substantiate claims of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood. And despite Republican fear-mongering, Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using federal funds for abortions in accordance with the Hyde amendment.
President Obama will ensure this bill fails to become law with his veto pen. But Republicans will succeed in letting the country know that the ideological whims of the extreme right are more important than the health and well-being of millions of Americans — a twisted definition of success that speaks volumes about the priorities of this Republican Congress.
Van Hollen’s press office advises that he will be managing floor debate on the GOP budget reconciliation bill this afternoon at around 3:30. Time to fire up the C-SPAN machine, perhaps?