Today the Senate is expected to vote on a continuing resolution — an agreement to fund the government — that includes language that would defund Planned Parenthood. This would be devastating to the millions of women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers around the country, and it would hit poor women particularly hard. It’s also the kind of “poison pill” rider that has no place in an appropriations bill, which is why it’s expected to fail.
Congress will then be left with just a handful of days to reach an agreement and keep the government open. And yet, even in the face of another government shutdown, the attacks on Planned Parenthood, and on women’s health generally, just aren’t letting up.
Last week, the House passed two bills — both of which bypassed regular order and were rushed to the floor — that would hurt women’s health. One would defund Planned Parenthood for a year, and one would threaten abortion providers with criminal penalties for failing to adhere to a vague standard of care set by politicians rather than doctors.
The Senate could take up these harmful bills next — even though it already rejected a standalone bill to defund Planned Parenthood back in August and even though the president has already threatened to veto both. And earlier this week, the Senate voted on (and thankfully blocked) H.R. 36, a dangerous and unconstitutional nationwide ban on abortion starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, without so much as a hearing to discuss the merits of the legislation.
In short, the clock is running out, and abortion opponents in Congress are wasting time pushing bills that hurt women.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are expressing frustration with their colleagues who are willing to hold crucial government funding hostage over women’s health. Maybe they’ve heard from their constituents — more than 7 in 10 Americans say that they don’t want a shutdown over Planned Parenthood.
The fact is Planned Parenthood is a critical safety net health care provider — 1 in 5 women visits a Planned Parenthood in her lifetime. Those who seek to defund it would deny those women access to the wide array of preventive services that Planned Parenthood provides — from cancer screenings to STI tests and treatment to birth control — just because they oppose access to the safe, legal abortion services that Planned Parenthood provides (even though they are already barred from using federal dollars to provide those services).
It’s clear: The attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women’s health. Tell Congress you’re watching, and you’ve had enough.