July 30, 2015

Hirono Defends Against New Assault On Women’s Health

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono took to the Senate floor to oppose the Republican bill to defund Planned Parenthood, a service that 2.7 million including 7,000 in Hawaii, rely on for primary health care. One in five women will visit a Planned Parenthood clinic in her lifetime for health care such as cancer screenings, disease testing, birth control, and other essential health care services.

From Senator Hirono’s remarks:

“I see this bill and others like it as nothing else than an assault on women’s health.

“What else can you call it when defunding Planned Parenthood will result in 2.7 million women in this country not getting the cervical cancer screenings, mammograms, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and other health care they need.”

Watch Senator Hirono’s floor speech here:

  

Read Senator Hirono’s full remarks below, as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I rise today to speak against the bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

I see this bill and others like it as nothing else than an assault on women’s health.

What else can you call it when defunding Planned Parenthood will result in 2.7 million women in this country not getting the cervical cancer screenings, mammograms, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and other health care they need.

For over 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been a leader in improving the health and well-being of women throughout the United States. 

For many women, especially low income women, survivors of domestic and sexual assault, young women, and others, Planned Parenthood health centers are their primary health care provider—who they go to for life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, disease testing and other essential health care services.

One out five women in this country will pass through a Planned Parenthood health center for these services at some point in their lives.

Six out of ten women who access family planning services rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary point of care.

In my state of Hawaii, over 7,000 women annually have relied on Planned Parenthood for these basic health services.

Services that help individuals maintain their health so they can live full, productive lives.

This latest attack and fearmongering by the fringes of some on the other side against Planned Parenthood is unwarranted.

Defunding one of the largest health providers to women shows how far some of my Republican colleagues will go to restrict women’s access to health care.

As previously noted, this latest attack on women’s access to care will impact nearly 2.7 million women across the country who benefit from Planned Parenthood’s services.

2.7 million women – that’s nearly double the population of the state of Hawaii.

These 2.7 million Americans do not deserve to have their access to health care terminated just so politicians can score political talking points

If these women can’t go to Planned Parenthood, where will they go?

Women who rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care services will be forced to find medical care elsewhere or tragically, go without.

Defunding Planned Parenthood means:

There will be 400,000 fewer cervical cancer screenings.

There will be 500,000 fewer breast exams.

There will be 4.5 million fewer tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV.

In Indiana, when the state defunded Planned Parenthood, several clinics closed.

The clinic in Scott County was the only testing facility for STDs.

Scott County today is in the middle of an HIV outbreak and the state had to open a pop-up clinic to offer such services.

Defunding led to residents in Scott County being unable to get services due to partisan gamesmanship.

We do not want these results replicated throughout the United States.

On behalf of the tens of thousands of women in Hawaii, and millions across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care services, I oppose this politically motivated attack that will set women’s health care back.

I will stand vigilant against these attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and will continue to defend the good work this organization does for women each day.

Planned Parenthood has long been on the ideological hit list of those who want to block abortion.

So, today, we’re talking about defunding Planned Parenthood as a way to that goal. Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about some other way to limit a woman’s right to choose.

This bill dangerous to women’s health and I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this bill and any like it that come before us.

Thank you Mr. President, I yield the floor.