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AUSTIN, TX – At a press conference today, Governor Rick Perry announced he is stepping aside and not seeking re-election.  Following is a statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Rick Perry has done more to hurt women than any governor in history. Perry’s legacy is endangering women’s health in order to score political points with the far-right Tea Party fringe, and the candidates vying to replace him as governor will learn that his legacy is a stain on them in a general election, not a badge of honor.

“Today’s announcement confirms that the special session of the state legislature is politics at its worst, designed to help position Rick Perry with national Tea Party activists while jump-starting the Republican primary for governor in Texas. The real tragedy is that a lot of women, whose access to health care has already been devastated by Rick Perry’s agenda, will be hurt by the bills that Perry and his allies are breaking all the rules to push through the legislature, over the objections of the vast majority of Texas voters.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund highlighted Perry’s legacy:

•Perry leaves Texas with the nation’s highest rate of those without health insurance for fifth straight year according to Gallup and ranking near the bottom in terms of women receiving prenatal care.

•Policies Perry championed forced more than 55 women’s health centers to shut their doors; these health centers provided lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing, and basic preventive health care.

•As a direct result of Perry’s actions, more than 130,000 women a year in Texas are no longer able to get medical care, because their visit to a women’s health center was the only health care they received.

•If the legislation Perry is pushing in the special session of the state legislature passes, dozens more health centers will shut their doors. 

•The Texas Hospital Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Texas District of ACOG, and individual doctors across the state strongly oppose this bill.