Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today entered remarks in support of Planned Parenthood into the Congressional Record:
Full text of Feinstein's remarks
"Mr. President, I rise once again to speak against this callous, misguided effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
This is a clear case of politics being put ahead of the country’s best interests.
This time, the majority has tied this effort to the funding of the entire federal government—they are willing to shut down the government over this issue.
Planned Parenthood serves some of the most vulnerable women in our society.
It cares for 2.7 million patients in the United States—5 million patients worldwide.
Ninety-seven percent of the services its 700 clinics provide are basic health care, including breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and contraception.
One in five women will use Planned Parenthood as their primary health care provider at some point in their lives.
Nationwide, 80 percent of Planned Parenthood patients make less than $18,000 per year.
And Planned Parenthood is often the only health care option for low-income women and women in rural communities.
And yet here we are, facing another effort by Republicans to block funding for this vital health care provider, an effort echoed and supported by Republicans who are running for President.
Since this latest attack on Planned Parenthood began in July, I’ve received more than 25,000 calls and emails from women and men in California who support Planned Parenthood.
While the details of the stories vary, they share the same theme: Planned Parenthood was there for them at a critical time in their lives.
It was the only place they could go for health care when they were in college, earning minimum wage, or struggling to provide for their children and families.
It was the only place where they felt safe and respected.
It provided essential tests and screenings, and allowed them to plan their families, which is critical to women’s economic security over the course of their lives.
Here’s one example from a constituent in San Francisco:
She said, and I quote: “Thirty-two years ago, I was broke and Planned Parenthood was the only place that would give me birth control. I am now retired and my life would be so different if they hadn't been there. This is so necessary for those who can’t afford it.”
Another constituent from Alameda said, and I quote: “I’m calling your office for the first time, because I want you to support Planned Parenthood. When I was a young woman, their medical services saved my life. I hope this phone call helps save them in return.”
To me, that’s why this organization is so important to women in this country.
Not only does it provide health care—it gives women the ability to make a better future for themselves and their families.
I also want to address the false claim put forward by those who are pushing to defund Planned Parenthood: They claim that Planned Parenthood patients would easily find another community clinic to go to for their health care.
This is just not true.
Community health centers and clinics do great work, but if 2.7 million Planned Parenthood patients were suddenly without a doctor, they simply could not handle the sudden influx of new patients.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 650,000 Planned Parenthood patients would lose their access to health care.
What’s more, many community clinics don’t provide the level of contraception care and other health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.
In two-thirds of the counties where Planned Parenthood has a clinic, it serves half of the women eligible to receive family planning services under the Title X program.
In California, 13 of 58 counties would not have a single clinic to provide family planning services under the Title X program without Planned Parenthood.
That tells us what will happen if this funding is stripped—huge numbers of women across the country will have no place to go for vital health services.
This isn’t a matter of speculation. We’ve seen what happens when Planned Parenthood is defunded because it has happened at the state level.
In 2012, Texas defunded Planned Parenthood.
To serve all the women who needed access to a doctor or nurse, the remaining community clinics would have had to increase the number of patients they saw by an average of 81 percent.
In other words, they would have needed to accept almost a doubling of their existing number of patients.
Unsurprisingly, those clinics lacked the ability to do so.
As a result, nearly 20,000 fewer women were served by the Texas Women’s Health Program the following year—a 10 percent decline.
The number of prescriptions for birth control was cut in half, meaning 100,000 fewer women were able to access affordable birth control.
Louisiana is another state trying to defund Planned Parenthood, and recently defended its actions in court.
As part of its rationale, the state actually claimed that dentists and eye doctors are capable of providing women’s health care services.
Let me repeat: Louisiana officials claimed that women who receive breast exams, contraceptive counseling and prescriptions, and other medical services at Planned Parenthood could go to dentists and eye doctors instead.
Any woman knows that is just unrealistic.
So make no mistake about it: If Planned Parenthood is defunded, many American women simply will not get the health care they need.
The attacks on women’s health don’t stop at Planned Parenthood’s door.
The House of Representatives recently proposed completely eliminating the Title X program, which provides affordable family-planning services to low-income women.
Title X is proven to reduce abortions by preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Let me repeat that: The House has proposed to eliminate a program that reduces abortions.
Of course, we also know that the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 50 times. Here in the Senate we’ve suffered through at least 30 similar votes.
This law they want to repeal guarantees women basic preventive care like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.
It requires that prenatal care and labor and delivery are covered by insurance companies.
It prevents women from being denied coverage or charged more because they’re women.
It’s the greatest achievement for women’s health in a generation. Yet we wasted days and weeks on futile attempts to eliminate it.
These attempts to deny women and their families access to basic health care, to defund Planned Parenthood, to eliminate funding for family-planning services that reduce abortions and to deny women the right to make their own reproductive decisions are appalling.
Planned Parenthood has been under constant attack since its founding in 1916.
Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was thrown in jail for providing birth control to women.
The proponents of defunding Planned Parenthood have been engaged in this assault for years. The group behind this latest effort, the Center for Medical Progress, has long-standing ties to the anti-choice movement.
It’s currently under investigation for possible criminal activity—the individuals who obtained the footage used false identification to represent a fake medical company.
The videos, which are presented to the public as the full, unedited videos, have been analyzed by forensics experts at Fusion GPS.
And the truth is, they are not the full, unedited videos. Content is missing and numerous edits have been made even to the so-called “full footage” videos.
Many members of Congress have requested the full videos. Those requests have gone unanswered.
So the point is: This is part of a sustained assault on an essential health care provider for millions of American women.
I also want to reiterate the real-life consequences of the rhetoric that’s been directed at Planned Parenthood and its staff.
I talked about this when I spoke on this subject in July.
I strongly believe that the rhetoric directed at Planned Parenthood sends a message that it’s “ok” to intimidate its staff and patients.
And it is not.
A few weeks ago, a Planned Parenthood health center in Washington State was severely damaged when an arsonist lit it on fire.
Thankfully, no one was hurt.
But I’d hope that we’d learn from this event and opponents of Planned Parenthood would think about the ramifications of their words. This is dangerous territory.
In closing, we must remember that the attacks on Planned Parenthood aren’t about improving women’s health.
They’re about taking away women’s rights, choices and access to the doctors and nurses they know and trust.
And quite frankly, their efforts will only jeopardize women’s health by removing the only source of health care many women have available.
I’ve seen great gains for women during my lifetime, including more education, greater workplace freedom and the right to decide what happens to our own bodies.
I simply will not stand by and watch our advances slip away.
We’re standing up for Planned Parenthood because we stand up for women. I urge a no vote.
Let’s defeat this bill and move on so we can fund the government, and address many other critical issues.
Thank you, Mr. President."