Miami, FL – On a press call today hosted by Planned Parenthood Votes, in partnership with For Our Future, Florida leaders and advocates called out Marco Rubio and Rick Scott for their inability to address Zika, and for their policies that have decimated women’s health care in advance of the spread of Zika. Medical experts and even the CDC have made clear that as the Zika crisis spreads in Florida, residents need a real, comprehensive response that puts their health and well-being first, and must includes access to family planning services. Yet instead, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott have continued to push their anti-women’s health agenda — one that has already led to Florida having too few women’s health care providers across the state.
Quote from Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL):
“Florida is ground zero for Zika in the US and it's time for Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Congressional Republicans to quit playing politics and protect our state. There's enough members in both parties willing to support full funding with no strings attached. The only thing they're lacking is the political will and courage. While Secretary Clinton is calling for full funding and visiting affected areas, the GOP leader Donald Trump is clueless on Zika. Instead of playing politics, it's time for Florida Republicans to focus on the real issues hurting Floridians.”
Quote from Dawn Laguens, head of Planned Parenthood Votes:
“Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are mocking a public health crisis. You can’t be serious about Zika while peddling anti-women’s health policies at the same time. Let’s be clear: There is no solution to Zika that does not include comprehensive reproductive health care. Medical experts agree. Florida women demand a real response that empowers women and stops the Zika virus from inflicting suffering on our families. But all we’re getting from Marco Rubio and Rick Scott is talk. Talk doesn’t help women in Florida.”
Quote from Dr. Christopher Estes, Planned Parenthood Votes Supporter and Cheif Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida (for identification purposes only):
“This is a public health crisis in Florida, and people's’ health lies in the balance. There is no way to fight Zika without comprehensive access to reproductive health care. We need more access to health care, not less. Florida needs more access to health care, not less. Women need more access to contraceptives in this crisis. It makes zero sense to limit who can help.”
Quote from Laura Hernandez, Florida Voter:
“I’m speaking to you as a Florida voter but also because this issue is especially personal to me. My sister, who lives in Orlando, is pregnant. As this crisis grows out of Miami, I worry for my sister. Politicians in Florida have failed to act, failed me and failed my sister. Now that is convenient politically, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Donald Trump are pushing for Zika funding and support. Floridians see through the lip service and it’s not enough. I’m here to tell you– Floridians reject Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Donald Trump's’ agenda, loud and clear.”
Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have fought to block women from accessing essential reproductive health care. As Zika spreads, we are seeing the real consequences of that across the state. Right now, more than a third of Florida counties don’t have an ob-gyn provider. Florida isamong the worst states when it comes to women’s health and well-being.
Rubio has voted to defund Planned Parenthood time and time again, when family planning providers, including Planned Parenthood health centers, are essential in confronting Zika. He has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, which has so far given more than 55 million women access to no-copay birth control –– a critical part of addressing Zika. And just recently, he said women should not be able to access to abortion if they have Zika.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has been leading a crusade against women’s access to health care in his state since he was elected into office. He’s refused to expand Medicaid, and he cut state funding to pay for mosquito control by 40 percent. And even worse, he’s been pursuing a politically motivated agenda to block patients, many of which are low-income women, from basic reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood at all costs, and no matter how many women he hurt in the process.