Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul Joins BPCLC Members and Advocates to Support Planned Parenthood

Caucus Releases Letter To NYS Congressional Delegation Opposing Defunding Attempt

Sen. Krueger and Assm. Rosenthal with Advocates
New York – Today, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was joined by members of the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus (BPCLC), including State Senators Krueger, Gianaris and Montgomery, and Assemblymembers Gottfried, Kaminsky, Lavine, Rosenthal, Seawright and Simotas, and activists from NARAL, NOW, NYCLU and others, at a rally to show support for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and oppose any efforts by Congress to cut off funding for PPFA.  BPCLC also released a letter that was sent to members of the New York State Congressional delegation, urging them to oppose any funding cuts.  The full text of the letter can be read below, and is also available here.

“Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service to women across the country and is an integral part of our nation's health care system,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “Just as I stood with them in Congress, defending them against political extremists who orchestrate a smear campaign to achieve their goal of eliminating a woman's right to choose, I proudly stand with Planned Parenthood and defend it so that women's healthcare is not compromised.”

Lt. Gov. Hochul joins BPCLC members
At the rally, supporters recognized the vital services provided by Planned Parenthood to millions of Americans every year, and condemned the ongoing attempts by anti-choice extremists to remove federal funding from PPFA health centers.

"Planned Parenthood has always been on the front lines standing up for women's equality and health and now it our time to stand with them,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democratic Conference Leader and BPCLC Co-Chair. “The Senate Democrats will continue to fight for women’s rights and health and we will not let Planned Parenthood be unfairly attacked. Together we will build a stronger and fairer state and nation for our daughters and granddaughters.”

“For almost a hundred years, Planned Parenthood has addressed a vital need for women across the country, providing access to a wide array of reproductive healthcare services,” said Senator Krueger, BPCLC Co-Chair.  “In the face of relentless attacks by extremists who want to deny these services to millions of Americans, it is more important than ever that we stand with Planned Parenthood. We must not let anti-choice radicals turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. We are not going back in history; we are going to move forward."

"For over 99 years Planned Parenthood has been one of the most trusted health care organizations for women in the country,” said Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, BPCLC Co-Chair. “The recent release of heavily edited videos is part of a three year smear campaign orchestrated by one of the more extreme anti-abortion groups whose goal is to prevent women from accessing the care they need. Planned Parenthood, a non-profit health care organization, provided 378,692 pap screenings for cervical cancer, detected 87,988 cases of early breast cancer, performed 487,029 breast exams and does more to prevent unintended pregnancies than any other organization in the country. The donation of fetal tissue is not against the law and is often very cathartic for the women who choose to donate.  It is seen by many in the medical and research field as an invaluable part of research for prevention of several diseases. I will continue to support Planned Parenthood as they continue providing the kind of care women can count on."

Last year, nationally, Planned Parenthood provided birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other services to 2.7 million patients, and sex education to 1.5 million people. More than 6 in 10 women who receive care at a family planning center consider it their primary, or only, source of care. One in five women in America will receive care from a Planned Parenthood provider at some point in their lives.  In 2013, 1,228,700 women in New York were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Planned Parenthood affiliates across the state are critical in teen pregnancy prevention and the health and safety of their patients has always been their top priority.

Letter from BPCLC to NYS Congressional Delegation:

Dear New York Congressional Delegation,

We are writing to you as members of the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus (BPCLC) to oppose any votes to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers. Such a move would leave millions of women without access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving healthcare. The BPCLC is comprised of 86 legislators in both the New York State Senate and Assembly, dedicated to protecting access to quality reproductive health services, safeguarding legal rights to reproductive healthcare in New York State, and providing a voice for state legislators in policy debates at both the state and national level.

As you know, anti-choice extremists have recently launched an attack against Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). To date, two undercover videos have been released, showing PPFA medical staff discussing fetal tissue donation with anti-choice activists posing as representatives from a bio-medical company. These heavily edited videos are part of a smear-campaign aimed at de-funding Planned Parenthood and ending access to abortion by falsely alleging that PPFA is selling human tissue. As was made clear in their response to these attacks, PPFA has offered to help some patients who want to donate fetal tissue for vital medical research, which is entirely legal. PPFA does not receive any financial benefit for this service, but is sometimes reimbursed for costs. As the full, unedited videos show, it is false and despicable to suggest that Planned Parenthood profits from their patients’ decisions to donate fetal tissue. To be clear: there is nothing in these videos that suggests any violation of law.

The New York Times reported that, “the Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.” These misleading videos are the latest attack in a coordinated effort to change the course of the debate around reproductive health and advance a radical agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice groups have long pushed to defund Planned Parenthood, even though no federal money is used to provide abortions.

These attacks must not be allowed to succeed. Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country, having delivered high-quality care for nearly 100 years, and it is the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care and sex education to women, men, and young people. It is also is an important safety net provider for millions of low to middle-income Americans. Giving in to extremists by shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics would cut off 2.7 million people from access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive healthcare services.

As lawmakers, we are called upon to stand up for the rights of our citizens. One in five women in America have turned to Planned Parenthood for high-quality health care at some point in their lives. We must stand with Planned Parenthood to ensure our community members continue to have access to affordable, quality health care from a trusted provider they depend on.

The BPCLC firmly supports Planned Parenthood and urges you to vote against any attacks on them and the critical services they provide.

You may reach the NYS Bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus at (212) 490-9535.

Thank you for your consideration.

Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee
Caucus Co-chair

Senator Liz Krueger
Caucus Co-chair

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Caucus Co-chair                                                                                    


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