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TOInterested Parties
DATE: Monday, April 13, 2015
SUBJECT: Memo/Statement: Marco Rubio and the race to the bottom on women’s health


Despite the vast majority of voters, including Republicans, Independents, and Democrats who want elected officials to move forward on women’s health, Senator Marco Rubio and the other GOP presidential contenders thus far, including Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, have made careers of working to turn back the clock on women’s health and rights.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Marco Rubio says he has a vision for a new American century, yet he’s made a career out of trying to turn back the clock on women’s health and rights. This is part of a backward agenda being pushed by all of the GOP contenders thus far, which is already shaping up to be the same race to the bottom on women’s health that we saw in 2008 and 2012.

“These views aren’t reflective of the American public — or most Republican voters — who see that allowing women to make their own personal health care decisions is at the heart of independence and freedom. We know that many Republicans stand with Planned Parenthood, and they should encourage Republican candidates for president to support women’s health.

“We need to keep moving forward on issues that matter deeply to women, including equal pay, access to preventive health care, affordable birth control, and access to safe and legal abortion.”

Marco Rubio has worked to:

  • Allow hospitals or health care providers to deny women emergency contraception, a safe and effective form of birth control.
  • Allow bosses to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control.
  • Block women from going to Planned Parenthood health centers for preventive health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings and affordable birth control.
  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act and its historic advancements for women.
  • Block legislation that would help women get equal pay for equal work.
  • Ban safe, legal abortion.
  • Limit and refuse rights to immigrant families.  

Impact on Florida women:

  • In a study of all 50 states’ health care policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, Marco Rubio’s home state of Florida is tied for last place for women’s health.
  • In 2012, 1,199,480 women in Florida were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act more than 1,801,000 now have access without a copay.
  • In the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 28 percent higher in Florida, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 37 percent higher.
  • In Florida, the publicly funded family planning services provided at safety-net health centers in 2010 helped save $260,272,000 in public funds.
  • Planned Parenthood health centers served nearly 80,000 people in Florida last year; with 61 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide.
    • Conducted 30,995 tests for chlamydia — a leading cause of preventable infertility — that resulted in 2,372 positive results and follow-up treatment
    • Performed 17,487 breast exams
    • Provided 54,808 patients with birth control services
  • According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 34 percent of Florida’s 67 counties do not have any ob-gyns.

In Marco Rubio’s own words:

  • Rubio said he is adamantly against abortion, and “even if 100 percent of my constituents were for it,” he would still be against it. [Tallahassee Democrat, 9/6/09]
  • Rubio has said that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was “one of America’s most blatant instances of judicial activism.” [Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator, 1/22/13]
  • When running for the Senate in 2010, Rubio bragged about championing a bill that requires women to undergo a government-mandated ultrasound before getting a safe, legal abortion. His campaign website stated: “As a state legislator, I supported various pieces of pro-life legislation that, among other things, would require doctors to perform ultrasounds before performing abortions…” Women who are victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, and human trafficking would have been required to present a police report or other court documentation in order to bypass the ultrasound viewing requirement. [PolitiFact6/22/10;HB 257, 4/2/08]
  • Rubio supported the Hobby Lobby decision that gives employers a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage, returning women to the days of paying up to $600 a year for birth control, and has called for the Affordable Care Act “to be entirely repealed and replaced.”  [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/14]

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care and sex education to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the leading women’s health provider in the United States. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

You can view the Action Fund’s statement welcoming Hillary Rodham Clinton to the presidential field here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood media line at [email protected].