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September 26, 2017

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Attacks on Planned Parenthood played key role in Trumpcare defeat

In their various versions of Trumpcare bills to replace the Affordable Care Act, congressional Republicans would have stripped millions of Americans of their health care and “defunded” Planned Parenthood.

Trumpcare was the worst policy for women in a generation. It would have blocked millions from accessing birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers, increased premiums by 20 percent and taken away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

Thankfully, Trumpcare failed in large part due to the millions of women across the country who came together in unprecedented numbers and spoke out in opposition to the attacks on their health care.

Planned Parenthood was a decisive factor in defeating Trumpcare: Two of the three Republicans who voted against the ACA repeals, including Sen. Susan Collins from Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, did so because of the bill’s attack on Planned Parenthood and women’s health. They, and all of their Democratic colleagues, stood up for the 2.4 million patients who seek care at Planned Parenthood clinics each year, while Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., turned his back on these constituents.

This defeat didn’t happen by chance or luck. Since the start of the Trump administration, Planned Parenthood patients, supporters and advocates have actively led a resistance against Trumpcare, organizing a national network of concerned citizens who worked tirelessly to block this bill from passing.

For months, an army of pink-clad Planned Parenthood patients, supporters and advocates took to the streets, the phones and social media to organize more than 2,400 events from coast to coast — including rallies, congressional town halls, and phone banks and field hearings.

Nationwide, Planned Parenthood supporters have made more than 250,000 phone calls and delivered over 1 million petition signatures to members of Congress to oppose “defunding” Planned Parenthood. Here in Nevada, we’ve refused to back down —protesting outside Heller’s office, delivering strong messages and using the power of our voices to push back against attacks on women’s health.

At the core of these grass-roots effort were talented and passionate volunteers who understood what was at stake. These women stood together and refused to let Congress block their birth control, breast exams or pap smears — the vital services Planned Parenthood provides — over partisan politics.

I came to this fight for my own reasons. Not only am I a Planned Parenthood organizer, but I am a patient as well. Like the 16,000 patients in Nevada, I come to Planned Parenthood for the quality care that the organization provides. After the 2016 presidential election, I made the choice to get long-term birth control in the health center that I was most comfortable with, Planned Parenthood.

From then on, this work had become so much more. I was no longer just fighting for people to get the care that they need, I was fighting so that people could get the same quality of care that I did, and so that people could walk into our health centers with the same feeling of comfort and safety as I had. Every week, my team and I organize events to show our elected officials that Nevadans support Planned Parenthood and remind them they should listen to their constituents.

We knew the public was on our side. Poll after poll shows widespread support for Planned Parenthood. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that 80 percent of voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, oppose efforts to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood.

The 16,000 Nevadans who go to Planned Parenthood aren’t making a political statement when they make a visit. For many, it is their only option to obtain the care they need. Now, because of the tireless efforts of Planned Parenthood supporters nationwide, these women and men will continue to have the access to preventive care like cancer screenings and contraception and I am proud of the role we played to keep these patients healthy.

We know that this is not the end of our fight. Because in this current climate, women’s health and reproductive rights are constantly under attack. So I would encourage people across the country who want to ensure that every person in America has access to the vital services provided at Planned Parenthood to put on their pink and come together. There is more work to be done.

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