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VP Debate Will Show that Only Biden and Harris Will Protect Our Health Care 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 7, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Washington, DC  — Tonight, Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will face off for the only vice presidential debate of the cycle. Harris, a champion for reproductive freedom, will showcase how a Biden-Harris administration will protect and expand our rights and access to health care — a stark contrast to the nearly four years of attacks on our sexual and reproductive health care that we’ve seen from Trump and Pence.  

But Mike Pence’s history of undermining our health care access goes back way farther than his time as vice president. For years, Pence attacked people’s access to Planned Parenthood health centers and reproductive care, both as a congressman and governor of Indiana. As vice president, he eagerly spearheaded many of Trump’s deeply unpopular policies. He supports the administration’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, risking health care coverage for tens of millions of people, including affordable birth control and pregnancy coverage, as well as coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy. And his “leadership” of the coronavirus task force has been an abject failure, unsurprising considering the HIV crisis exacerbated by his policies in Indiana. 

On the contrary, Kamala Harris is an experienced, strong leader, with a record fighting for our health care and reproductive freedom, including access to safe, legal abortion. Her passion for health equity will be on full display on the debate stage. 

Statement from Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes:

“Voters will see a clear contrast on tonight’s debate stage. On one side, Mike Pence will lie about his extreme record, defend his failed leadership on COVID-19, and try to pretend he hasn’t spent years working to eliminate access to health coverage and care, people’s ability to see the provider of their choice, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. On the other, Kamala Harris will show what a strong, confident leader looks like, one who’s proud to be a champion for reproductive freedom and health equity. Tune in.”   

In case you need a reminder of Mike Pence’s career attacking our health and rights:

  • Mike Pence has a record of creating – not solving – public health crises. In Indiana, Pence exacerbated a devastating HIV outbreak because he had personal objections to CDC-approved safety measures like providing clean syringes. 

  • Pence’s response to COVID-19 as presidential task force lead has been marked by incompetence and dangerous disinformation, contributing to the more than 210,000 people dead in the United States and a lackluster recovery in comparison to other countries. 

  • Pence has joined the Trump administration’s numerous attempts to repeal the ACA, and encouraged the Supreme Court to overturn the entire law.

  • As an Indiana congressman, Pence brought federal legislation to a vote on the House floor to block patients from using federal health care programs (like Medicaid) for preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers. 

  • Pence predicted that legal abortion would end "in our time" hoping that “this will be the generation” to outlaw abortion. He also told the March for Life that its movement to ban abortion is “winning.” 

  • The Trump-Pence administration issued rules to allow employers and universities to refuse to cover birth control in their health plans if they have religious or “moral” objections to contraception, undermining a critical component of the Affordable Care Act. These rules were just upheld up by the Supreme Court. 

  • The Trump-Pence administration issued a "gag rule" that denied people access to full reproductive health information and forced Planned Parenthood health centers and other providers out of the nation’s program focused on affordable reproductive health care.

Senator Kamala Harris:

  • Harris is a strong opponent of the Trump administration’s domestic gag rule on the Title X program, and she acknowledges that this program is critical to ensuring people with low incomes can access reproductive health care.

  • Kamala Harris admonished the Trump administration for approving a Texas Medicaid family planning program that bars people in the program from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

  • In the U.S. Senate, Harris is the lead sponsor of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020 — a comprehensive set of regulations and investments to address the crisis in Black women’s maternal mortality. 

  • Harris was vocal against unconstitutional TRAP laws that single out abortion providers with onerous and unnecessary regulations and strip people of their right to choose.  

  • Harris opposes the Hyde Amendment, which targets people with low incomes, disproportionately women of color because of centuries of systemic racism, who are already facing barriers to basic health care access. 

  • Sen. Harris co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act and the EACH Woman Act to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and coverage, including abortion


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.