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JUNEAU, AK — Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced its endorsement of Al Gross for U.S. Senate to protect the health, freedom, and rights of people in Alaska. As our nation struggles to address the COVID-19 pandemic, it shines a spotlight on the need for strong leaders who will champion our health and our rights.

While people in Alaska and across the country struggle to get the care they need, the Trump administration and its allies in Congress are focused on gutting the Affordable Care Act, banning abortion, and restricting critical preventive care initiatives. As U.S. Senator, Al Gross would help protect programs like Title X, the nation’s only dedicated family planning program, and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, instead of supporting the Senate majority by attacking abortion access through a Coronavirus bill to score political points.

This announcement is part of the Action Fund’s continued endorsement of federal candidates committed to reproductive health and rights around the country.

Statement from Jennifer Allen, CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii:

“We are thrilled with Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s endorsement of Al Gross for U.S. Senate, a champion we know will show the leadership we need during these unprecedented times. The people of Alaska are tired of the Trump administration and Senator Sullivan using every trick in the book to chip away at health care access and safety net programs, and are ready for a bold leader who will fight back against these harmful policies. Al is a physician and knows the challenges people face in Alaska trying to access the care they need. Nearly 8,000 patients walk through the doors of Planned Parenthood health centers for their health care needs in Alaska every year. Those patients, and all people in Alaska, need a champion like Al Gross to fight for access to health care and show true leadership in Congress.”

The Trump administration’s attacks on abortion, birth control, and other reproductive care have spurred backlash across the country. A record-high 77 percent of Americans say they do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and in Alaska, nearly 8-in-10 Alaskans say they don’t want to see “laws passed that ban abortion in the state legislature.” Those elected in 2020 to Congress and to the White House will make a difference for access to reproductive health and rights across the country.

Get the facts on the Trump administration’s efforts to chip away at health care access:

FACT: After the White House’s top official in charge of response to a global pandemic left the administration, the White House did not fill the role and instead disbanded the National Security Council’s entire global health security team.

FACT: The Trump administration assigned leadership of its coronavirus response to Vice President Mike Pence, who exacerbated a devastating HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana because he had personal “moral” objections to CDC-approved measures like providing clean syringes.

FACT: The Trump administration sabotaged the Affordable Care Act by drastically curbing enrollment assistance, allowing junk health insurance plans on the marketplaces, and reducing the number of people who have health insurance today. The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that could gut the protections and coverage established by the ACA. In addition, state politicians across the county have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of people without needed health insurance.

FACT: The Trump administration pushed for Medicaid work requirements, an additional barrier to health insurance that is proven to kick tens of thousands of people off their health care. Women, particularly women of color, are significantly more likely to lose coverage as a result of these work requirements.

FACT: The Trump administration attempts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers in any way they can, including their Title X gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood out of the nation’s only dedicated affordable birth control program. The administration also encourages states to block people with Medicaid from accessing Planned Parenthood health centers. Many communities already have extreme health care provider shortages, and Planned Parenthood is often the only trusted provider. We’re in the midst of urgent public health crises — not just coronavirus but also the opioid epidemic and extremely high rates of STIs — we need a strong public health safety net, not fewer trusted providers in our communities.

FACT: The Trump administration's cruel public charge rule was designed to keep immigrant families from accessing health care and basic needs. Experts believe that the rule could weaken America’s response to COVID-19 by preventing immigrant families from seeking health care.

FACT: The Trump administration proposed gutting CDC funding by 16 percent in the FY21 Budget, even amidst the early warning signs of a global pandemic. In fact, despite the rising threat to public health, top Trump officials continue to irresponsibly defend the agency cuts. There is no fiscal reason that could justify stripping down the nation’s life-saving health care infrastructure when we need it the most.

FACT: The Trump administration proposed a budget for FY21 that would slash funding for Health and Human Services (HHS) health care programs, including over $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years. Without access to safety-net health care coverage, many people with low incomes or people who live in rural areas will have no options to cover the cost of care, leading to delayed testing and treatment for the deadly virus. The Trump administration stacked HHS with anti-abortion idealogues like Secretary Alex Azar, who spent his time going on TV to tout his anti-abortion agenda while confirmed cases of COVID-19 were on the rise.

Find Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s presidential candidate spotlight here.

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