Anchorage — Today, by a vote of 53-46, the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would have blocked Alaska women and thousands more across the country from receiving preventive health services at Planned Parenthood health centers. Among the Senators who voted to defund Planned Parenthood were Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. Murkowski’s vote is particularly disappointing, as she previously supported Planned Parenthood funding in 2011.
The vote comes after a relentless, coordinated smear campaign by anti-abortion extremists to dismantle by any means necessary the nonprofit reproductive health care provider and the lifesaving services it provides.
Statement from Jessica Cler, Alaska Public Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii:
“Despite Senator Murkowski and Sullivan voting for this extreme measure, the Senate stood with the majority of voters who oppose this bill that would have cut women off from basic health care. People in Alaska and across the country have seen it for what it is — a political attack on women by a group of out-of-touch politicians. The elected officials behind this bill should listen to the public and the medical community. Medical experts not only assert that Planned Parenthood provides high-quality reproductive health care, but that unequivocally, other providers would not be able to fill the gap, with women losing access to care as a result.
“While Senator Sullivan’s vote is not surprising, Alaska women are extremely disappointed in Senator Murkowski’s vote which allows government to restrict access to health care for Alaska women. Women and families in Alaska have trusted Senator Murkowski to show sensible leadership on essential health care services, but today, it appears that trust has been misplaced.
“We already know how far some in the GOP will go in their quest to end safe and legal abortion — allying themselves with a group associated with the most extreme wing of the anti-abortion movement, obstructing funding for breast cancer research, and politicizing a bill to help wounded veterans start a family. We know that this won’t be the last time Congress attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, with some already threatening a government shutdown in order to block millions from getting basic health care.
“Next time, rather than listening to their extremist allies, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan should listen to the people of Alaska, who strongly oppose these attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care.”
Two national polls have now showed that the majority of American voters strongly oppose attacks on Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care it provides — with a new Wall Street Journal/NBC national poll released tonight showing that voters rate Planned Parenthood most favorably: above both political parties, the NRA, Supreme Court, and all leading 2016 presidential candidates.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s most trusted reproductive health care provider. Every year, 2.7 million women, men and young people rely on us for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood provides is preventive, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Planned Parenthood has been a trusted health care provider for nearly 100 years.