WATCH Senator Gillibrand’s Remarks HERE
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today spoke on the Senate floor against the latest partisan threat to shut down the federal government as a means to defund Planned Parenthood. The women’s healthcare provider receives just over $500 million in federal funding every year to provide essential preventative services, including breast exams, cancer screenings and immunizations, as well as adoption referrals and pediatric care. Federal dollars are prohibited from funding abortion services – which make up just 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work – unless in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Senator Gillibrand’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below and video is available here.
“Mr. President, I rise to strongly oppose this cynical and opportunistic ploy, to fulfill a long-time ideological goal to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Let’s talk facts, not rhetoric. The fact is that no federal funds can be used for abortion, except in the dire circumstances of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is in jeopardy.
“Here’s another fact. Only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is dedicated to abortion services. The other 97 percent of their work, is dedicated to preventative women’s health services like STD testing and screening, contraception, pap tests, breast exams, cancer screenings, and other services like adoption referrals, pediatric care, and immunizations.
“So when you say, ‘Let’s defund Planned Parenthood’ – because you never liked that they exist – what you are saying is that women, primarily in low-income communities, and many women of color, won’t have access to a wide range of essential health services, because of an ideological desire to control what choices are made between a woman and her doctor.
“Mr. President, I’m failing to see the logic here.
“This exploitative movement, advanced by special interests, would effectively tell half-a-million American women: ‘Sorry, you can’t have a breast exam this year.’
“They’re telling 400,000 American women, ‘Sorry, you won’t be able to have a lifesaving screening for cervical cancer.’
“Of all the issues to debate on the Senate floor right now.
“We have kids in all 50 states who are going hungry during summer vacation, because their parents can’t afford to pay for those extra lunches when they’re home from school.
“We have college graduates who can’t afford to start their adult lives, because they’re so bogged down in student debt.
“We have men and women who work 40 hours a week, with no vacation days and no sick days, but are still stuck in poverty, because our national minimum wage hasn’t gone up since last decade.
“We have millions of hardworking Americans who have to quit their jobs and lose their paychecks when their husbands or wives get sick, because we’re the only industrialized country that doesn’t have paid leave.
“Mr. President, of all the issues to debate on the Senate floor right now, this is the one my colleagues want to debate?
“Whether or not to maliciously hurt an organization that provides vital health services to millions of American women?
“This is the issue over which my colleagues are threatening yet another government shutdown?
“Do we really need to restrict women’s access to health care, in order to keep the federal government running?
“Mr. President, it’s clear that some of my colleagues here are so desperate to roll back Roe-v-Wade they’re so desperate to take us back to the days when women didn’t have any medical independence, that they’ll use any excuse they can get to overreact, and force this tired, same-old Planned Parenthood debate on us.
“But here’s the truth about Planned Parenthood: Millions of American women rely on Planned Parenthood to stay healthy. They rely on it to prevent diseases. They rely on it to detect diseases. They rely on it to treat diseases.
“We cannot, and we will not, defund Planned Parenthood. I yield the floor.”