Washington, DC -- In the wake of the tragic shooting at a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs, CO, members of Congress - in both the House and Senate - introduced resolutions condemning violence against reproductive health care providers.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Champions of women’s health in Congress have come together to say that no woman, man or young person should fear violence just for accessing or providing health care.
“What happened in Colorado Springs was an unthinkable tragedy, but we are grateful for the leadership of Senators Blumenthal, Shaheen and Bennet, as well as Reps. DeGette and Slaughter, and for such a strong condemnation of attacks against reproductive health care providers.
"We are also grateful for over 100 co-sponsors who stand in solidarity with the millions of men, women and young people who seek access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
“Let’s be clear: Words matter, and acts of violence should be unacceptable to all of us. We look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress to ensure this country values compassion over divisive rhetoric, and that we can put aside politics for the sake of the well being and health of millions.”
“Dangerous words create a dangerous environment. Planned Parenthood has always operated on the belief that everyone deserves access to quality reproductive health care, no matter what. Planned Parenthood will continue to deliver high quality, compassionate care to the millions of patients that come through our door every year - and ensure they get that care free from the threat of violence, fear or intimidation. Now we look to Congress to help ensure the same.”
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) lead the effort with 35 of their Senate colleagues, and U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo-1) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.-25) with over 167 of their House colleagues.
Full text of S.327 follows:
Resolution Condemning Violence Targeting Women’s Health
Condemning violence against women’s health care providers and patients accessing such health care
Whereas, the constitutional right to make health care decisions about their own bodies has been an established right for over 43 years;
Whereas Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972) confirmed the constitutional right of all women to legally access birth control;
Whereas Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was decided 42 years ago and reaffirmed that women have a constitutional right to comprehensive reproductive health care;
Whereas for decades, women’s health care providers and people accessing the services they provide have been subjected to intimidation, threats, and violence;
Whereas since 1993, there have been eleven murders and numerous attempted murders of individuals associated with care provided at women’s health centers;
Whereas nearly 7,000 violent acts have been reported against providers at women’s health centers since 1977, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults, as well as more than 190,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls;
Whereas, within the past six months, there have been an increase in arsons, vandalisms and threats at Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers, including in Aurora, Illinois; Pullman; Washington; Louisville, Kentucky; and Claremont, New Hampshire; and on November 27, 2015, three people were killed and nine people were injured when a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs, Colorado;
Whereas, demonizing, extreme rhetoric contributes to a climate that is dangerous for those who would provide or access comprehensive health care services;
Whereas more than 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients are people of color, who are therefore disproportionately impacted by attacks on women’s health centers; and
Whereas one in five women will use Planned Parenthood for health care, which in 2013, provided over 1.4 million emergency contraception kits, nearly 4.5 million tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infection and nearly 900.000 cervical cancer screenings and breast exams and continues to be the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and, along with many other reproductive health providers, continues to provide expert, quality reproductive health care in safe and supportive environments across the country.
Be it resolved, that the United States Senate:
1. Denounces the attacks on women’s health care centers, providers, and patients;
2. Affirms that all women have the right to access reproductive health care services without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment.