Washington, DC -- Today, Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on his extreme anti-woman agenda at an anti-abortion rally in Washington, DC.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

We will not stand by as Vice President Pence tries to impose his radical, dangerous, and highly unpopular agenda on this country. Defunding Planned Parenthood will cause a national health care crisis, leaving millions with nowhere to turn for basic reproductive health care, including birth control and cancer screenings.  

“Mike Pence’s crusade against women is dangerous and potentially deadly. He’s advocated for a ban on abortion with no exceptions -- even if it means leaving a woman to die. In Indiana, his policies exacerbated an HIV epidemic, and he passed restrictions on abortion so extreme that even his fellow Republicans denounced him. Americans do not want, and did not vote for, Pence’s extreme anti-woman agenda. On day two of this administration, millions of people -- one in every 100 in this country -- took to the streets to make clear they will not stand for attacks on women’s health. That was only the beginning.

Approximately 60% of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public health care programs like Medicaid and Title X to access care, and most of those patients use Medicaid. The people who would be hurt the most by defunding are people who have historically faced barriers to quality health care: young people, women of color, people in rural areas, people with low incomes, and LGBTQ people.

The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not in the budget. Instead, the legislation prevents millions of women who rely on Medicaid from accessing the health care provider they’ve been depending on for decades. This policy also has nothing to do with abortion -- it instead cuts women off from cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV and STI testing and treatment.

Support for access to safe, legal abortion is at a record high -- with 70% of Americans not wanting to see Roe V. Wade overturned, the highest since the case was decided more than 40 years ago.

In addition, a new poll out today found that voters overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Sixty-two percent of voters are opposed to defunding Planned Parenthood, while only 31 percent of voters support it. And when those voters are informed what “defunding” Planned Parenthood actually means, only 12 percent of voters support defunding Planned Parenthood, according to Quinnipiac.

The notion that other health care providers, like community health centers, can absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly debunked by health care experts.  Community health center expert Sara Rosenbaum just released a paper today explaining why health centers will not be able to meet the needs of Planned Parenthood’s patients. “To assume that health centers are in a position to fill the void left by barring a health care provider of Planned Parenthood’s importance to Medicaid beneficiaries...is simply wrong.”

The abortion rate has also dropped below one million per year for the first time since Roe V Wade was decided --- and that’s due to increased use of effective contraception, NOT because of restrictions on access to abortion. In fact, a recent report found that the abortion rate decreased most in states that had little to no restrictions on access to abortion, and that had invested in access to family planning.

Mike Pence is obsessed with ending access to Planned Parenthood. He was the first member of Congress to try to “defund” Planned Parenthood.

  • Politico called Pence’s determination to deny patients care at Planned Parenthood health centers a “one-man crusade” and wrote that “nobody hates Planned Parenthood quite as much as Mike Pence.” [Politico, 2/16/11]

  • Mike Pence was the first to introduce legislation aimed at “defunding” Planned Parenthood – back in 2007. [Vox, 7/26/16]

  • Pence was willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding: In 2011, Pence said on Morning Joe that “of course” he was willing to “hold up this entire budget ov

  • er defunding Planned Parenthood.” [Crooks and Liars, 4/5/11

Mike Pence is so extreme on abortion, even his fellow Republicans have a problem with him.

  • In Congress, Mike Pence co-sponsored a bill that would have redefined rape in order to ban abortion. [H.R. 3, 1/20/11; The Nation, 7/15/16]

  • Pence signed eight anti-abortion bills into law as governor of Indiana, including one of the most extreme, invasive abortion laws in the country.

    • One provision of the bill he signed this year was so extreme that several anti-abortion Republican lawmakers in his own state objected, calling it “dangerous” and warning that it could lead to “back-room abortions.” [NYT, 7/16/16]

    • The law sparked protests in Indiana and around the country, including more than a thousand protesters who gathered outside the Statehouse in Indianapolis after Pence signed the bill. [Indystar.com, 4/9/16]

    • The law inspired an Indiana woman to launch a Facebook page called Periods for Pence, where she encouraged women to call Pence's office to report on the status of their menstrual cycle. Pence’s office received thousands of protest calls and messages via social media. [NYT, 4/7/16]

    • Several provisions of the law were blocked in June by a federal judge, days after the Supreme Court ruled that similarly brazen restrictions in Texas were unconstitutional. [NYT, 6/30/16]

  • In Congress, Pence cosponsored multiple so-called “personhood” bills that, if enacted, could have criminalized abortion in all cases from the moment of conception, with no exceptions, and even restrict access to some forms of birth control. [H.R. 552, cosponsored 4/5/05; H.R. 4157, cosponsored 11/13/07; H.R. 881, cosponsored 5/12/09; H.R. 374, cosponsored 1/20/11.]

  • In Congress, Pence cosponsored a bill that would have allowed hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who would die without the care. [Huffington Post, 7/14/16]

  • As governor, Pence signed a $3.5 million contract with a crisis pregnancy center to promote giving women anti-abortion propaganda instead of unbiased pregnancy counseling. The contract took $3.5 million from the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides aid to low-income families, and gave it to the Pennsylvania-based anti-abortion group “Real Alternatives,” to “promote childbirth rather than  abortion.” [The Journal Gazette, 10/13/15]]

Mike Pence holds backward views that are harmful to the health and well-being of women and their families.

  • Public health officials in Indiana condemned Pence for downplaying the risk of HPV — especially in a state where the vaccination rate “is especially low” — and warned that Pence’s position “undercut public health entirely.” [WFYI Indianapolis, 11/10/15]

  • As the state of Indiana experienced an unprecedented and severe HIV outbreak, Pence put his conservative ideology before the public health of his state for more than two months after the outbreak was detected, because he was morally opposed to the recommendations from local, state, and federal health officials. [NYT, 8/7/16]

  • Health experts said the HIV epidemic could have been prevented but was instead worsened because “the state of Indiana does not invest adequately in public health.” [Courier-Journal, 7/29/16]

  • In 2002, Mike Pence said that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases” and that encouraging condom use as protection against STDs is “too modern.” [BuzzFeed, 7/21/16]

  • As governor, Pence signed an outrageous “religious freedom” law to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people. The law was criticized around the country, leading Pence to “revise” it, but not before costing the state at least $60 million in revenue. [The Huffington Post, 4/2/15; The Advocate, 1/26/16]

  • In Congress, Pence voted multiple times against equal pay measures, including voting two times against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is now the law of the land and ensures that workers have protections against pay discrimination. [H.R. 2831, 7/31/07; S. 181, 1/27/09]

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