Cantwell Opposes Resolution Allowing States to Deny Health Care, Family Planning Funding to Clinics

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to oppose a resolution, H.J. Res. 43, which would make it easier for states to discriminate against health care providers who provide family planning services, like Planned Parenthood, with funding from Title X of the Public Health Service Act.  Title X, the federal government’s only funding program dedicated to family planning, primarily benefits low-income and vulnerable patients. The resolution passed the Senate by a vote of 51-50 with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote.

Full Transcript of Senator Cantwell’s remarks:

I rise to join my colleagues on the senate floor and I thank the Senator from Washington for her leadership on this issue and to join my colleagues in voicing strong opposition and deep concern to H.J. res. 43, a resolution of disapproval we are considering today in the United States Senate.

This resolution would threaten access to health care for thousands of women and families in the state of Washington and millions of people across the nation.

H.J. res. 43 would make it easier for states to discriminate against health care providers who serve low-income and vulnerable patients under title 10 of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal funding program dedicated to supporting the family safety net and is widely supported by the public. When it was enacted and it still, still has very strong bipartisan support.

So despite my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, this issue is something that all my colleagues should make sure that we are not taking away access to health care.

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle, also in the House, and I know my colleague the senior senator from Washington can testify to this – many occasions, budget resolutions, debt ceiling conversations, end of year negotiations are all about trying to stop Planned Parenthood. They have used Planned Parenthood as a bargaining chip in a litany of high stakes legislative negotiations. They have even tried to shut down the federal government because they didn't want to fund Planned Parenthood. And moreover, during the 114th congress, republicans voted 22 times to undermine women's health, and today they are continuing the same thing.

These health centers are an essential part of communities' delivery system, their preventative services. They help prevent deadly disease. They save taxpayers money. They help families with their health care. And time and time again, the constituents of our state tell us how access to these highly qualified care centers translate into economic empowerment, independence, and the ability to thrive in their lives and careers.

In short, it doesn't just provide good health care for America, it provides a good economic strategy for America. In our state, 34 Planned Parenthood centers provide contraceptive care, breast cancer screening, STD and HIV screening and treatments and have prevented more than 27,000 unwanted pregnancies, thanks to their efforts and outreach.

In the very isolated communities of Pullman and Moses Lake and Shelton, they are oftentimes the only family provider that will furnish care to low-income individuals, and major medical organizations representing obstetricians, gynecologists, family physicians and pediatricians have also made it clear that this resolution is divorced from medical science and will hurt patients.

So I urge my colleagues to resist continuing their senseless political crusade. I hope that they will be smart enough to understand that a health care strategy is an economic strategy. And I hope that they will defeat this resolution.