At a reception on Capitol Hill last night, Planned Parenthood honored and thanked pro-family planning members of the House and Senate for their hard work and support of women’s health during 2007.
“We offer our most sincere thanks to the pro-family planning champions whose leadership helped to advance Planned Parenthood's commonsense, prevention agenda in 2007,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “We honor your commitment to speaking up for women’s health and women’s rights.” Richards encouraged members to keep up the fight to restore affordable birth control in 2008.
Richards especially recognized and honored 11 members of Congress who took a public and vocal stand in opposition to direct attacks against Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood has many friends in Congress, but we especially honor and thank those members who stood up and spoke out for Planned Parenthood when we needed it the most,” said Richards. “Together we defeated those amendments that specifically targeted Planned Parenthood.”
The 11 members who publicly spoke out are:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA-23)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ-12)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY-18)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14)
Rep. James Moran (D-VA-08)
Rep. David Obey (D-WI-07)
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-17)
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT-04)
At the reception, several members of Congress spoke about the important work Planned Parenthood is engaged in and about their commitment to women’s health.
Rep. Lois Capps said, “I've worked with Planned Parenthood since I was a school nurse in California. I am grateful to you all for your work in the community every single day, providing health care for a lot of people who don't get it any other way. I'm delighted to work on your behalf and always will be there with you.”
Rep. Kathy Castor said, “In Tampa, Planned Parenthood had a teen theater program to teach kids how to say no and not get in trouble. I stood up for Planned Parenthood when opponents tried to cut it out of the budget, and that spurred more support for Planned Parenthood. Together, we have the potential to repair the damage done over the last seven years.”
Rep. Joe Crowley said, “Providing women with safe, affordable and comprehensive health care should always be a bipartisan mission. Unfortunately, the Bush policies of the last 7 years have moved us backwards, not forwards. Planned Parenthood is leading the cause forward and I am a proud supporter of their efforts.”
Rep. Tim Ryan said, “It's an honor to work with Planned Parenthood to ensure all women have access to affordable contraception. I think we have a real opportunity to build a coalition that will dramatically reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions. If there is anything we can all agree on, it should be that.”
Rep. Christopher Shays said, “Planned Parenthood is an extraordinary organization. Thank you for what you do for women, and therefore all of us. For me it is a badge of honor to support Planned Parenthood. It is the right thing to do. I don't have to explain to anyone in my district that we want women to have control over their own lives.”
In 2007, Planned Parenthood faced two unprecedented federal attacks designed to put Planned Parenthood out of business. First, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN-06) offered an amendment to the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would have stripped all federal family planning dollars from Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers.
Later in the year, anti-women’s health Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) offered a similar amendment to the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would have prohibited all federal health care funding from being made available to any entity (except hospitals) that uses its own, private funds to perform abortions other than to save a woman's life.
Thanks in large part to the courageous leadership of 11 members of Congress who took a public and vocal stand against these attacks on America's leading reproductive health care provider, both of these amendments were soundly defeated.
Several other members of Congress also attended the reception, including Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Rep. Bruce Braley, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Mark Kirk, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, and Rep. Laura Richardson.