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Legislation Contains Important Steps Forward for Health Access, Equity, and Sexual & Reproductive Health

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Senate passed the American Rescue Plan Act, much- needed COVID-19 relief legislation to address the health care and economic crises caused by the pandemic — including support for sexual and reproductive health care. Access to sexual and reproductive health care is inextricably tied to health and safety during the pandemic. This vote moves the legislation one step closer to President Biden’s desk. 

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“We applaud the Senate for passing this critical legislation to provide relief for people in this country, and around the world, suffering from the health and economic consequences of COVID-19. The pandemic, and resulting economic crisis, have especially hurt Black people, Latinos, and people with low incomes — all of whom already faced systemic barriers to care. While it was disturbing to see some Senators try to use this relief bill to attack abortion access, immigrants, and LGTBQ+ students, their cynical political maneuvers were thankfully defeated. The Senate majority understands that getting COVID-19 relief to everyone affected must be our number one priority and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. And they understand that ensuring people can access the sexual and reproductive health care they need during this pandemic is a critical part of that mission. Thankfully, relief desperately needed by people in the U.S. and around the world is on its way."

During “vote-a-rama,” anti-sexual and reproductive health Senators failed in their effort to add discriminatory abortion coverage restrictions to the bill’s critical funding for public health programs. Attacks on access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion, have no place in any legislation, let alone in a bill designed to get urgent relief to communities and people in need.  The American Rescue Plan Act, which will now move back to the House for final passage and then to President Biden’s desk, contains many important provisions for our communities.  It includes increased funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and confidence, as well as testing, tracing, and treatment; expansions of health insurance coverage so many people can get the care they need; critical funding for the Title X family planning program; financial support for the people who need it most; investments in a coordinated international response and critical global health and humanitarian programs, and more. 

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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.

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