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Mayor Kirk Caldwell Signs On to Protect Planned Parenthood

HONOLULU – This week, as the U.S. Senate moves ahead on health care, now through the “skinny repeal” bill, more than 100 U.S. mayors, including Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, signed on to a letter of support to protect Planned Parenthood.

Today, Axios reported on a draft of the so-called “skinny repeal” bill that would be introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. According to the report, the skinny repeal would include only five things, two of which are directly aimed at blocking millions of patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers for basic care such as cancer screenings, birth control, and annual exams.

The letter, signed by 106 bipartisan mayors from 28 states, including mayors from small towns and rural communities, urges congressional leadership to reject efforts to block access to care at Planned Parenthood. In the bipartisan letter to Senator McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Ryan, and House Minority Leader Pelosi, the mayors highlighted the need for Planned Parenthood’s services in their communities and declared their support for equitable health care access:

“No one knows better than mayors how devastating it would be to take away health care and preventive services from this many people. If all Medicaid patients are blocked from seeking care at Planned Parenthood health centers, it would be an attack on the well-being and economic security of those who already face barriers to accessing health care and need it most. People go to Planned Parenthood because they know they will find health care professionals who are compassionate experts dedicated to reproductive and preventative health care. We know our communities, and we know they rely on the trusted care of Planned Parenthood. For Medicaid recipients to lose this essential part of their healthcare would be nothing short of disastrous.”

If enacted, the language in the “skinny repeal” bill would jeopardize the health of the 2.4 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services, including more than 3,500 people in Hawaii.

  Statement by Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu:

“Mayors in more than 100 U.S. cities stand with all of those who rely on Planned Parenthood for high quality health care and I am one of those mayors. Any effort to defund Planned Parenthood through the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cause millions of people to lose access to the care they depend on and patients will be cut off from the doctors and nurses they trust. The availability of quality, affordable health care is critical to ensuring our communities thrive and I stand with those who are fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood continues to provide essential and much needed services to the residents of the City and County of Honolulu.”