Ads Airing Today Highlight Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis Plan to Force Women to Pay More for Birth Control

WASHINGTON, DC - As part of the Women are Watching advocacy and political campaign to elect pro-women’s health candidates, Planned Parenthood Votes today announced its first TV ad buy of the cycle to hold anti-women’s health Senate candidates Cory Gardner in Colorado and Thom Tillis in North Carolina accountable for their shared records of working to make birth control less affordable and accessible for women. The ads, which are the first of a series, warn voters that the birth control proposals brought forward by the candidates could cost women up to $600 a year on birth control that many are currently getting at no cost.  Planned Parenthood Votes will be launching additional ads that will run in each state through mid-October.

Watch the Colorado ad here and the North Carolina ad here

“Women aren’t fooled by this last-ditch political ploy.  They know that the politicians like Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis proposing to make birth control available over-the-counter are the same ones trying to get rid of insurance coverage for birth control, which would set women back economically to the tune of $600 a year out of pocket,” said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Votes.  “We’re going to work every day between now and November 4th to make sure voters know where the candidates stand on birth control access and other important women’s health issues.”

The TV ads running today make this point, with the Colorado version saying “just when insurance is finally covering the cost of prescription birth control, Cory Gardner says ‘no,’ women should pay the $600 per year.  His plan lets insurance companies off the hook, and costs Colorado families more.  Independent research shows that Cory Gardner isn't being honest with us, and he's turning the pill into yet another bill.”

In North Carolina, Planned Parenthood Votes is investing nearly $500,000 for television ads in the Raleigh media market, and in Colorado, is investing more than $400,000 in the Denver market.  The ads are part of the group’s multi-layered campaign to ensure that voters in key states know the stark contrast between the candidates when it comes to issues like access to affordable birth control, safe and legal abortion, and the preventive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide. 

Already this year, in support of the Women are Watching campaign, supporters and volunteers have knocked 90,000 doors and made 175,000 phone calls nationwide - including more than 10,000 doors and 87,000 phone calls in North Carolina alone.  That outnumbers Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations’ total commitment for the entire 2010 cycle. Earlier this summer, Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced its largest digital ad buy of the cycle, calling out Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan for his terrible record and agenda for women’s health.

BACKGROUND ON CORY GARDNER:

Thinks bosses and politicians should decide whether women get access to affordable birth control:He praised the deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling that gives bosses a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage, forcing women to go back to the days of paying up to $600 more a year. [corygardnerforsenate.com, 6/30/14]

Wants to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health care coverage: He has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act repeatedly, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and wants to go back to the days where women pay more for health insurance, or can be denied coverage for so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or domestic abuse.  He would repeal the women’s preventive services benefit, which is already allowing 520,000 Colorado women to access health care, including birth control without a copay.   [Washington Post, 3/21/14HHS, 6/27/14]

Would deny Colorado women and families access to Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services: He voted to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the lifesaving preventive care like cancer screenings and STI testing that health centers provide to nearly 75,000 women, men and young people in Colorado.  [H. Con. Res. 36, Roll Call vote 60, 4/14/11]

Would deny survivors of rape all of their options: He voted against a bill in the Colorado state House that would require hospitals to inform a survivor of a sexual assault of the availability of emergency contraception, an effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy. He also co-sponsored the so-called No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt only “forcible rape” and not “rape” generally. [SB07-060, 2/14/07; H.R. 3, 1/20/11; Washington Post, 2/1/11]

Would impose his extreme beliefs about abortion on women and their families: Gardner voted for the Protect Life Act, which would have allowed hospitals to refuse to provide an abortion when a woman’s life is at stake. He also sponsored a bill in the Colorado state House that would have made abortion a class 3 felony, including in cases of rape and incest. The bill could have criminalized doctors for performing abortions with the possibility of a prison sentence. [H.R. 358, Roll Call vote 789, 10/13/11SB07-143,1/29/07]

Does not support the Paycheck Fairness Act: Gardner opposed considering the Paycheck Fairness Act aimed at correcting the pay disparity for women, who in Colorado make on average nearly $11,000 less annually compared to their male counterparts. Thanks to politicians like Gardner, Colorado is one of a handful of states where income inequality continues to grow. [Huffington Post, 4/11/13; The Business Times,3/12/14]

Championed extreme and dangerous so-called “personhood” efforts that would ban abortion: He has supported Colorado personhood initiatives not once but twice, both of which were defeated by more than 70 percent of voters, and is the current co-sponsor of a nationwide “Life at Conception Act” which could interfere with personal, private medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and ban access to safe and legal abortion. [Colorado Independent, 8/5/10; H.R. 1091, 7/23/13]

BACKGROUND ON THOM TILLIS:

Thom Tillis thinks bosses and politicians should decide whether you get access to affordable birth control: He praised the deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling that gives bosses a permission slip to deny their employees access to birth control coverage, forcing women to go back to the days of paying up to $600 more a year, and he has said that states have the right to ban birth control. [News & Observer, 6/30/14;News & Observer, 01/31/14]

Thom Tillis would deny North Carolina women and families access to Planned Parenthood: He has repeatedly supported efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the lifesaving preventive care like cancer screenings and STI testing that health centers provide to more than 25,000 women, men and young people in North Carolina.  [Associated Press, 8/24/11]

Thom Tillis wants to go back to the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health care coverage: He endorsed a government shutdown over the ACA, costing taxpayers $24 billion and wants to go back to the days where women pay more for health insurance, or can be denied coverage for so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or domestic abuse. [Charlotte Observer, 9/23/13]

Thom Tillis would impose his extreme beliefs about abortion on women and their families: He opposes safe and legal abortion and helped force deeply unpopular abortion restrictions through the North Carolina general assembly, tucking them into an unrelated motorcycle safety bill. He also worked to pass one of the most extreme mandatory ultrasound bills in the country – a measure designed to shame and judge women.  [News & Observer, 7/11/13Mother Jones, 7/29/13Associated Press, 4/7/13]

Thom Tillis supports extreme and dangerous so-called “personhood” efforts: He has said that he supports efforts that would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg, which could interfere with personal, private medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. [News & Observer, 1/31/14]

Thom Tillis refuses to say whether he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act: Silence aside, Tillis’ record indicates that he doesn’t support equal pay for equal work. Tillis killed a bill at the state level aimed at correcting the pay disparity for North Carolina women, who continue to be paid 82 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. [WRAL, 4/9/13; AAUW]