Trump Administration and Republican Congressional Leaders Once Again Use Pandemic Relief Bill to Attack Reproductive Rights
WASHINGTON — Tonight, the Senate passed a coronavirus response package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, intended to provide health resources and economic relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the legislation includes some much-needed health care resources and economic relief, the Trump administration and Republican Congressional leadership once again used this must-pass relief bill to advance their anti-abortion agenda. The bill gives the Small Business Administration broad discretion to exclude Planned Parenthood affiliates and other non-profits serving people with low incomes and deny them benefits under the new small business loan program. In addition, the bill attaches a new unnecessary Hyde Amendment provision, a harmful policy that prevents people with low incomes from accessing safe and legal abortion coverage, to a state stabilization fund for providing coronavirus relief. This new language demonstrates that anti-reproductive health leadership will stop at nothing to attack health care, even during a pandemic. Sexual and reproductive health care is essential health care, and Planned Parenthood health centers are a critical component of the health care system. Attempting to limit access during a pandemic will only make the public health crisis worse.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“It’s critical that we protect all people’s ability to access essential health care during this crisis, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make. While this bill makes much-needed investments in health care providers and delivers economic assistance to the public, the CARES Act unfortunately falls short of the robust response our country needs to address this public health crisis and advance the goal of strengthening the health care safety net.
“It has become shamefully clear that not even a global pandemic will stop the Trump administration or Republican Congressional leaders from attacking access to reproductive care. Our leaders should be working to support the nation’s full network of safety-net health care providers during these uncertain times. Instead, the Senate bill targets Planned Parenthood and expands the harmful and discriminatory Hyde amendment, putting up even more barriers to care for women, people with low incomes, and communities of color. And while the bill provides a small, initial down payment for election reform efforts, further funding is needed — and quickly — to protect the democratic process and ensure fair and safe elections.
“Much more needs to be done to support our public health infrastructure, our health care workers, our families, and our elections in the upcoming weeks. Know this: In these trying times, Planned Parenthood Action Fund will keep fighting to ensure that families across the country can receive the care and assistance they need without political interference.”
The previous response package from Congress focused on free coronavirus testing for people who need it, increased Medicaid funding to help states address public health needs, paid sick leave, nutrition assistance, and enhanced unemployment insurance.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.