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Trump and Senate Leadership Launch Dangerous Political Attacks on Planned Parenthood Health Centers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 22, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Latest Trump administration efforts to distract from failed response to COVID-19

As Trump and his accomplices in the Senate pump the brakes on COVID-19 relief for families, they zero in on attacking providers of essential health care during the pandemic

Meanwhile, public health experts warn STI and HIV rates nearing epidemic levels

Washington, DC This week, instead of focusing on much needed new relief legislation while COVID-19 cases, unemployment, and STI rates continue to rise, the Trump administration and its allies in Congress waged baseless political attacks on local Planned Parenthood health centers, threatening their ability to provide essential health services during a global pandemic. With the Trump administration targeting health centers’ coronavirus relief loans and politicians like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Joni Ernst, and Steve Daines calling for a political investigation, Trump and Senate leadership have reached a new low in their obvious inability to govern. Planned Parenthood health center staff provide vital health care services at a time when many families are struggling to access the basic health care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation’s health care needs continue to grow. For many patients, local Planned Parenthood health centers are their only source of health care. And amidst increasing STI rates, Planned Parenthood provides more STI testing and treatment than any other service.

New polling released last week found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (65%),  including 62% of Independents, 78% of college educated women, and 51% of Republicans, oppose efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, Trump’s approvals with women continue to crater, with a new Fox Poll showing 61% of women disapprove of his job performance, compared to just 36% who approve.

Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes:

"Let’s be clear: This is a deliberate strategy by Trump and his allies in the Senate to exploit a public health crisis to gut essential reproductive health care, including abortion access and STI testing and treatment. It’s also a huge political mistake. Voters won’t forget how Trump and Senate leadership attacked Planned Parenthood health centers and the crucial care they provide as millions of people struggled to access health care, pay their bills, and survive this crisis. They’ll remember that Trump and politicians like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Steve Daines and Joni Ernst continued to do everything in their power to achieve their political agenda of gutting people’s access to health care, no matter the consequences. In 2018 and 2019, voters threw the politicians who launched senseless attacks on our health and rights out of office. In 2020, we'll do it again."

As the nation grapples with the pandemic, it’s clearer than ever the public wants engaged, competent leaders who will work to increase health care access — not undermine it. Yet even as the number of U.S. COVID-19 deaths near 100,000, including a disproportionate rate of people in Black and Latino communities, STI rates had already hit record highs, and the unemployment rate continues to soar, Trump and his allies in the Senate have put politics over public health. Trump has continued to deflect blame for his administration’s botched response to the crisis and doubled down on his attacks on health care access, refusing to open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and backing a lawsuit that would overturn the law and "terminate health care.”

Meanwhile, despite the vast needs that remain for health care providers, families, frontline workers, state and local governments, and voting systems, the next phase of relief for the people who have been hardest hit by the pandemic isn't on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s and Senate Republicans’ agenda. They are refusing to take action on much needed new relief legislation, with McConnell even saying, “I don’t think we have yet felt the urgency of acting immediately.” Instead they spent the week confirming judges with records hostile to health care and launching political attacks on Planned Parenthood health centers.

These latest attacks are just further proof that Trump and his political allies are obsessed with attacking reproductive health care regardless of the consequences. Trump nominated, and under McConnell’s leadership the Senate confirmed, two justices on the Supreme Court with records hostile to reproductive health. Trump has jeopardized access to affordable birth control and other reproductive health care with the Title X and global gag rules. He has also attempted to eliminate the ACA’s guarantee of affordable coverage, called for an abortion ban on the campaign trail, and encouraged states to block Medicaid patients’ access to Planned Parenthood health centers — to name just a few of his attacks on reproductive health care. At the same time, 39 Republican senators including Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined more than 200 extreme anti-abortion politicians in filing a court brief urging the Supreme Court to consider overturning the right to safe and legal abortion established in Roe v. Wade.


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