With critical Senate races in Georgia, Montana, the Action Fund sets sights on pro-reproductive health majority
WASHINGTON — Today, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (Action Fund) announced endorsements in 10 critical congressional races, including two Senate races — Steve Bullock in Montana and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. For years, the Trump administration and its allies in the Senate have been hellbent on gutting the Affordable Care Act, confirming anti-abortion federal judges, and making it harder for Americans to access the basic health care they need. It’s bad enough that the administration's years-long efforts to gut our public health infrastructure resulted in an ineffective pandemic response, but they even tried to use one of the COVID-19 response bills to block abortion access. We urgently need champions in Congress who will protect the health and rights of everyone, and who will show strong leadership in the face of a crisis.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Everything is on the line in 2020: our rights, our freedoms, our very democracy. As we face a pandemic, this election is about our survival and our future. That’s why Planned Parenthood Action Fund is investing in candidates up and down the ballot to win big in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House.
“People want their elected officials to be their champions in Congress and to protect their health and rights. In Georgia, the Action Fund is proud to endorse Rev. Warnock, whose commitment to reproductive health has been lifelong. Since his days serving as a teen peer counselor working to increase knowledge of contraceptive access, he has advocated for reproductive health and rights through ministry and connecting with communities in Georgia that face systemic barriers and discrimination. In Montana, Governor Steve Bullock is an outspoken supporter of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and we’re excited to support him in this election season. We would be well-served to have both these candidates continue their critical work in the Senate.”
As a young adult, Rev. Warnock worked at the Georgia Department of Public Health, focusing on decreasing unintended pregnancy and infant mortality, and helped author the statewide curriculum for uniform training of Georgia’s teen peer counselors — work that has carried into his ministry and counseling. As governor of Montana, Steve Bullock fought to expand Medicaid and affordable health care for his constituents, vetoed numberous anti-abortion bills, and opposed the Trump administration’s dangerous gag rule on Title X, the nation’s only dedicated program for affordable birth control.
The Action Fund also endorsed challenger candidates Joyce Elliott (AR-02), Celeste Williams (AR-03), Oz Vazquez (FL-18), Dani Brzozowski (IL-16), Kathleen Williams (MT-At Large), Kara Eastman (NE-02), Dana Balter (NY-24), and Kate Schroder (OH-01). This announcement is part of the Action Fund’s continued endorsement of federal candidates committed to reproductive health and rights around the country.
Get the facts on the Trump administration’s efforts to chip away at health care access:
FACT: After the White House’s top official in charge of response to a global pandemic left the administration, the White House did not fill the role and instead disbanded the National Security Council’s entire global health security team.
FACT: The Trump administration assigned leadership of its COVID-19 response to Vice President Mike Pence, who exacerbated a devastating HIV outbreak as governor of Indiana because he had personal “moral” objections to CDC-approved measures like providing clean syringes.
FACT: The Trump administration sabotaged the Affordable Care Act by drastically curbing enrollment assistance, allowing junk health insurance plans on the marketplaces, and reducing the number of people who have health insurance today. The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that could gut the protections and coverage established by the ACA. In addition, state politicians across the county have refused to expand Medicaid under the ACA, leaving millions of people without needed health insurance.
FACT: The Trump administration pushed for Medicaid work requirements, an additional barrier to health insurance that is proven to kick tens of thousands of people off their health care. Women, particularly women of color, are significantly more likely to lose coverage as a result of these work requirements.
FACT: The Trump administration attempts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers in any way they can, including their Title X gag rule that forced Planned Parenthood out of the nation’s only dedicated affordable birth control program. The administration also encourages states to block people with Medicaid from accessing Planned Parenthood health centers. Many communities already have extreme health care provider shortages, and Planned Parenthood is often the only trusted provider. We’re in the midst of urgent public health crises — not just COVID-19 but also the opioid epidemic and extremely high rates of STIs — we need a strong public health safety net, not fewer trusted providers in our communities.
FACT: The Trump administration's cruel public charge rule was designed to keep immigrant families from accessing health care and basic needs. Experts believe that the rule could weaken America’s response to COVID-19 by preventing immigrant families from seeking health care.
FACT: The Trump administration proposed gutting CDC funding by 16 percent in the FY21 Budget, even amidst the early warning signs of a global pandemic. In fact, despite the rising threat to public health, top Trump officials continued to irresponsibly defend the agency cuts. There is no fiscal reason that could justify stripping down the nation’s life-saving health care infrastructure when we need it the most.
FACT: The Trump administration proposed a budget for FY21 that would slash funding for Health and Human Services (HHS) health care programs, including over $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years. Without access to safety-net health care coverage, many people with low incomes or people who live in rural areas will have no options to cover the cost of care, leading to delayed testing and treatment for the deadly virus. The Trump administration stacked HHS with anti-abortion ideologues like Secretary Alex Azar, who spent his time on TV touting his anti-abortion agenda even as confirmed cases of COVID-19 were on the rise.
Find Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s presidential candidate spotlight here.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.