TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Erica Sackin, Political Communications Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
DATE: Thursday, October 29, 2015
RE: Paul Ryan Speakership: Will GOP Assault on Women’s Health Care Continue?
Plagued by a leadership vacuum, Congress has finally elected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House. The failed Vice Presidential candidate was nominated by House Republicans after weeks of chaos and internal strife, much of which was centered around a continued assault on women’s health care.
Congress has shown a singular focus on restricting women’s access to health care this session, taking 18 votes to restrict women’s health care this year --- eight of which happened since the August recess. Though committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz has confessed twice that there is no evidence Planned Parenthood has done anything wrong, there are four Congressional committees investigating Planned Parenthood, resulting in 25,000 pages of documents already submitted, and Congress recently announced a fifth special Select Committee dedicated entirely to investigating Planned Parenthood.
These attacks against women’s health continue to be increasingly unpopular with the American public, with thirteen national polls in the past few months showing the majority of Americans have unwavering support for Planned Parenthood, and oppose defunding efforts in Congress --- especially if they lead to a government shutdown. Bills to defund Planned Parenthood have already failed to pass a Senate vote, and the White House has made it abundantly clear that it will veto any bill that blocks patients who rely on federal funds from seeking care at Planned Parenthood.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“This is Paul Ryan’s chance to show Congress can get something --- anything --- done other than try to defund Planned Parenthood. This obsession with women’s health has been an embarrassment for the GOP --- Americans are sick of seeing Congress plunged into chaos every other week because of extreme politicians’ determination to block low-income women from accessing birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. Let’s be clear --- Paul Ryan is no friend of women -- he’s voted to block access to abortion and dismantle women’s access to health care. However, in his new leadership role, we hope he drops this unpopular crusade against women’s access to health care, and focuses instead of making sure Congress does its job.”
Americans are no stranger to Rep. Paul Ryan’s deeply troubling record on women’s health. Ryan has voted multiple times to restrict access to healthcare for millions of women by defunding Planned Parenthood, supported extreme restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion, and is the leading voice calling to dismantle Medicaid - a proposal that would jeopardize the basic health care of millions.
Quick facts on Ryan’s record on women’s health care:
Congressman Ryan scores 0% on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Scorecard. Ryan has a dismal record when it comes to voting in favor of women’s access to health care. Ryan is rated 0% on issues important to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. [Planned Parenthood Action Fund Congressional Scorecard]
Congressman Ryan believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned and wants to ban abortion, a decision that should be left up to a woman, her family and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor Ryan opposes abortion and wants to end all safe and legal abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the woman. [Wisconsin State Journal, 10/9/98; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/26/98]
Congressman Ryan cosponsored a bill that would allow hospitals to deny women abortions, including pregnant women with life-threatening conditions. “An even more controversial aspect of the bill would allow hospitals that are morally opposed to abortion, such as Catholic institutions, to do nothing for a woman who requires an emergency abortion procedure to save her life. Current law requires that hospitals give patients in life-threatening situations whatever care they need, regardless of the patient's financial situation, but the Protect Life Act would make a hospital's obligation to provide care in medical emergencies secondary to its refusal to provide abortions.” [Huffington Post, 10/13/11, H.R. 358, 1/20/11]
Congressman Ryan has co-sponsored “personhood” legislation, a dangerous measure that could ban some forms of birth control and infertility treatments. Ryan signed on as a co-sponsor to a “personhood” amendment, which many say could ban some forms of birth control. [HR 212, introduced1/7/11; H.R. 23, 1/3/13]
Ryan: “I’m As Pro-Life As A Person Gets.” “‘I’m as pro-life as a person gets,’ Ryan continued. ‘You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.’” [The Weekly Standard, 7/19/10]
Congressman Ryan voted multiple times to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict health care access for millions of women. [H. Con. Res. 36, 2/18/11; H.R. 3134, Roll Call Vote 505, 9/18/15; H. Con. Res. 79, Roll Call Vote 527, 9/30/15]
Serving as Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan wrote budgets that would have dismantled Medicaid and other crucial programs that millions of women rely on. Ryan’s effort to overhaul Medicaid and other programs like SNAP, the federal food stamp program, or the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, undermine women’s health -- particularly those who are low-income -- by completely dismantling key public health programs. [The Nation, 3/12/13]
Ryan supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, denying lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care to millions of women, including 587,000 women in Wisconsin. The Affordable Care Act is the greatest advancement in women’s health in a generation, providing concrete benefits for women, including access to birth control and cancer screenings without co-pays, guaranteed direct access to ob/gyn providers without referrals, and an end to discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for “pre-existing conditions.” Ryan’s final House budget, written in 2014, included a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. [The Hill, 4/1/14; How the Affordable Care Act is Working for Wisconsin, 9/25/15]
Ryan opposes family leave policies, despite requiring time to spend with his own family. “But when it comes to federal policies on family leave, Ryan has opposed virtually every measure proposed over the past several years. In 2009, for instance, Ryan voted against the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which would have allowed federal employees to substitute up to four weeks of available paid leave to take parental leave...Ryan also withheld support from another DeLauro bill, this one co-sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D.-N.Y.), that would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.” [POLITICO, 10/21/15]
Ryan opposes equal pay legislation. Ryan has voted multiple against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a law that updates and strengthens remedies for employees who face wage discrimination based on their gender, as well as against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that enforces protections against employee pay discrimination. [HR 1338, Roll Call Vote 556, 7/31/08; HR 12, Roll Call Vote 8, 1/9/09; HR 2831, Roll Call Vote 768, 7/31/07; S 181, Roll Call Vote 37, 1/27/09]