Las Vegas Sun

December 16, 2018

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Rep. Titus: Planned Parenthood needs our support

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Wade Vandervort

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-Nev) speaks during a health care hearing at UNLV in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 3, 2017. At the hearing, Planned Parenthood patients, health care providers, and public health experts offered testimonies about what the ACA (Affordable Care Act) repeal would mean to them.

Editor’s note: Although the Senate’s dramatic July vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act bought a reprieve for Planned Parenthood, which was facing the loss of its federal funding as a result of the vote, anti-abortion groups haven’t given up their effort to defund the organization.

With Congress going back to work this week, the Sun today offers a special package of opinion content advocating for the nation’s leaders to continue funding Planned Parenthood.

The GOP’s war on women is in full force, and its first battleground stop is women’s health care.

At the federal level, Republicans and President Donald Trump continue to attempt to roll back Obamacare, which will make being a woman once again a pre-existing condition. They have also pushed proposals that will gut Planned Parenthood’s federal funding sources: Title X and Medicaid. In many cases, stripping funding from Title X and Medicaid will leave women and children at risk of losing access to health care services. In Las Vegas and Reno, this includes some 20,000 residents.

Republicans and President Trump, who has a well documented history of sexist comments, use the issue as red meat to rally their base and further divide the country — all of which is done at the expense of the health of their female constituents.

In 2015, GOP members threatened to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding. They did the same in 2011 and very well could do it again as we head toward another funding battle and debt ceiling debate next month.

Republicans in the Senate and House also included provisions to defund Planned Parenthood in their failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this year. If another health care debate surfaces, we can expect to see those provisions return.

Nor have the president and members of his Cabinet been shy about their position. Trump’s FY2018 budget request seeks to defund Planned Parenthood. His Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, is a former GOP congressman with a track record of opposing women’s health programs. Teresa Manning, Trump’s pick to oversee Title X and family planning services at HHS, has said that birth control does not work.

Republican-led states are also on the attack. Texas Republicans have been on a years-long crusade to withhold Title X funds from their state Medicaid program – a move that would shut down Planned Parenthood and other organizations like it in the state. Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, and others have done the same. A federal judge in January ruled that under current law, Texas cannot take that route so now state officials are seeking a waiver from the Trump Administration that would allow them to do so. If Texas gets the waiver, it will provide a roadmap for the other states to follow.

The attack on Planned Parenthood most often revolves around abortion services under the guise of budget cuts. Republicans however fail to mention that federal funds cannot be used for abortions. They also ignore the fact that Congress created Title X in 1970 as a way to provide women with access to preventive care, family planning assistance, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, and primary care resources. They apparently do not want people to know that without Planned Parenthood one in five women would be negatively affected over the course of her lifetime.

This is what we are up against. So I applaud the women who have gone to town hall meetings, marched in rallies, made phone calls and challenged Republicans who are pushing for these disastrous measures. Keep it up and know that I am with you on the front lines, co-sponsoring multiple bills to ensure we protect the constitutional rights of women, improve access to contraceptives, increase preventive health outreach, and expand access to other vital health care services for women.

We have come a long way since Congress paved the way for Planned Parenthood by enacting Title X funding. But the fight continues. So let’s keep up our guard. We must resist and persist to ensure that Trump and radical Republicans do not roll back the clock on women’s health care.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., has represented Nevada’s 1st Congressional District since 2013. She previously served in the state’s 3rd Congressional District, and was a member of the state Senate from 1993 to 2009.

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