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WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood advocacy groups praised the introduction of the Survivors’ Security and Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Act of 2015 by U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard yesterday. If enacted, the legislation would  increase job security and protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. by allowing leave from work and increased access to medical services and legal counsel, among other provisions.

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, "Planned Parenthood stands behind the Survivors’SAFE Act, because women should never have to choose between their safety and their paycheck. This bill will make women safer and more economically secure and raises important awareness around the complex issues around domestic violence, and I'm grateful to Sen. Murray and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard for their leadership in introducing it.”

The Survivors’ SAFE Act, introduced by Senator Murray of Washington and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, ensures that barriers to accessing life-saving resources for survivors lessened.  Among the protections in the bill for survivors of domestic violence are up to 30 days leave from work to seek medical services, find a new home, or access legal counsel.  Other protections include unemployment insurance access, and employment non-discrimination. Additionally, this act includes investment for a national campaign of awareness to educate the public on domestic violence prevention and support for survivors, specifically in the workplace.

“We applaud Washington’s own Senator Patty Murray for once again stepping up as a national leader to support women across our state and country. The Survivors’ SAFE Act is an important recognition of the economic hardships that many survivors of domestic violence face. No woman should have to make a choice between seeking medical care or putting food on the table, and no woman should lose her job due to domestic violence and assault,” said Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. “We urge Senator Murray’s colleagues to cosponsor the Survivors’ SAFE Act as soon as possible to ensure that women everywhere have the protections they need and deserve.”

Ending intimate partner violence is a matter of basic rights and equality for families. This bill allows for survivors to receive the care and help they deserve without the threat of losing their economic independence. Women’s health providers like Planned Parenthood see firsthand the horrific impact of intimate partner violence — and work every day to combat it. Planned Parenthood is proud to have been at the forefront in screening for intimate partner violence. We are committed to our role as confidential and trusted health services providers.

The Survivors’ SAFE Act is just Senator Murray’s latest groundbreaking effort to focus Congressional attention on the important issues facing women and families in Washington and across the country. As ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Senator Murray has been relentlessly committed to stopping efforts to federally defund Planned Parenthood and instead she continues to beat the drum for increasing health care, as she has most recently with this bill.  Last month she visited a Planned Parenthood health center in Seattle to reiterate her strong support for Planned Parenthood’s patients — including survivors of domestic violence — in the face of Congressional funding fights.