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WASHINGTON, DC-- Just one day after Congress returned from the holiday, House Republicans are renewing their attacks to turn back the clock on women’s health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards warned. In a statement released earlier today, the Pro-Choice Caucus reported: “political forces are preparing for a banner year in Washington, where a radical GOP Congress and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court are issuing severe threats to women’s health.”

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

“Just last month, Republican leadership was holding seminars to teach their candidates how to talk to and about women, and yet now they’re back to their same old attacks on women’s health.  It is incredible that a narrow group of far-right politicians are continuing to try to threaten the budget and take away women’s access to birth control, and simultaneously hold hearings on legislation that would undermine access to comprehensive women’s health care and eliminate access to abortion, even in cases where a woman’s health is in danger. 

“This is a misguided and extreme agenda that would take away health coverage for millions of women. Already, 27 million women across the country have been able to receive birth control without a copay thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s preventive benefit, and an estimated 47 million will benefit when the law takes full effect.  Although this isn’t the first time they've tried, it's alarming how far some Tea Party members in the House will go to attack birth control and other basic preventive health care for women.”

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice –  chaired by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) who caused an uproar in 2013 when he said that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low” – will hold a hearing on a bill with the misleading name  “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” A previous version of this legislation made headlines in 2011 for trying to change the definition of rape.

Meanwhile, as the House prepares to consider an omnibus appropriations bill, Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the Budget committee, said that he would fight to add a provision which would allow employers and insurers to deny their employees preventive care including no co-pay birth control based on the personal beliefs of the employer.

A new report from the independent reproductive health research organization the Guttmacher Institute highlights the onslaught of women’s health restrictions enacted on the state level in 2013. These attacks have resulted in a historic outcry from women, men, young people, doctors, Democrats and Republicans who know these laws will do nothing to protect women’s health and safety.  The majority of Americans recognize that these laws will often harm women’s health by: restricting access to abortion or delaying the procedure so it’s later in pregnancy; making it harder for women to get birth control; blocking women from lifesaving cancer screenings and wellness exams; or prohibiting sex education programs that prevent teen pregnancy.

A 2013 nationwide poll conducted by Hart Research Associates showed that a strong majority of voters – Republicans (62 percent), Democrats (78 percent), and Independents (71 percent) – say these issues are the wrong issues for Congress and their state legislatures to be spending time on.