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With critical Senate races in Iowa, Colorado, and Georgia, the Action Fund pushes towards pro-reproductive health majority

WASHINGTON — Today, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (Action Fund) announced endorsements in nine critical congressional races, including three Senate races: Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, and Jon Ossoff in Georgia. For years, the Trump administration and its allies in the Senate have been hellbent on gutting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), confirming federal judges with records hostile to abortion rights, and making it harder for Americans to access the basic health care they need. The Trump administration has diligently worked to gut our public health infrastructure, which resulted in an ineffective pandemic response — they've even used COVID-19 response legislation to try to expand harmful and discriminatory abortion restrictions. And just last week, the Senate majority confirmed the Trump administration’s 200th lifetime judicial appointment. 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, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Everything is on the line in 2020: our rights, our freedoms, and our very democracy. As we continue to face a surging pandemic, this election is about our survival and our future. That’s why Planned Parenthood Action Fund is endorsing candidates up and down the ballot who will fight for Planned Parenthood patients — and all people — in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. 

“People across this country expect their elected officials to be their champions in Congress and stand up for their health and rights. In Georgia, Jon Ossoff is an outspoken supporter of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, and we’re excited to support him in this election. In Iowa, the Action Fund is proud to endorse Theresa Greenfield, who is working to ensure all Iowans, no matter where they live, can access the care they need. And in Colorado, we’re with John Hickenlooper, who has spent years fighting to ensure Coloradans are able to make their own decisions about their bodies and futures. By electing these candidates and moving closer to a pro-reproductive health majority in the Senate, Americans are ensuring a brighter future for themselves and their families.

In Georgia, Jon Ossoff has spent years defending Roe v. Wade. He has publicly pledged to protect people’s right to access abortion without government interference. In Iowa, Theresa Greenfield aims to expand health care coverage and access for rural Iowans, while her opponent has repeatedly voted to demolish the Affordable Care Act. Greenfield understands that people, no matter where they live or how much money they make, should have access to safe, high-quality, affordable health care, including sexual and reproductive health care. Finally, in Colorado, John Hickenlooper has a record of protecting people’s bodily autonomy and access to birth control. As governor, he oversaw the planning for an initiative that helped over 40,000 people access long-acting reversible contraception. As senators, all three of these candidates would continue their fights to ensure everyone has access to the sexual and reproductive health care they need.

The Action Fund also endorsed pro-reproductive health and rights House challengers in key races: Pat Timmons-Goodson (NC-08), Christina Finello (PA-01), Kristy Gnibus (PA-16), Julie Oliver (TX-25), Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), and Cameron Webb (VA-05). 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.

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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.