Mr. Chair, I rise today to oppose the amendment offered by my colleague from Indiana, Mr. Pence to H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act.
Mr. Pence's amendment would deny any federal funding to Planned Parenthood health facilities throughout the country. As a supporter of Planned Parenthood and the services that it offers to my constituents in my central New Jersey district, I firmly oppose this purely political amendment.
This should not be a pro-life or pro-choice debate about one of the many services that Planned Parenthood provides. In fact, under current law no federal funds can be used for abortion services. Less than three percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortion related. The Pence amendment is in fact a fundamental attack on our nation's oldest and most respected reproductive healthcare provider, the over 5 million men and women that visit Planned Parenthood annually, and the one in five American women who will visit a Planned Parenthood center in their lifetime.
Disqualifying Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds would disproportionately affect health-care services that prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood's medical services are related to contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; cancer screening, and other services like pregnancy tests and infertility treatment. Despite any claims to the contrary, the Pence amendment is clearly a direct attack on prevention services, and would increase the number of unwanted pregnancies.
More than 90 percent of the care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide every day is primary and preventive, including wellness exams, cancer screenings, immunizations, contraception and STD testing and treatment. For many women, the only doctor or nurse they see is one they visit at a women's health center. In fact, more than 6 in 10 patients who receive care at a women's health center like Planned Parenthood consider it their primary source of health care.
The 28 Planned Parenthood health centers in New Jersey serve over 90,000 patients per year for a wide range of primary and reproductive health services. In 2009 alone, these centers performed almost 45 thousand cervical screening tests that detected over 2 thousand abnormal results and 27 thousand breast exams that detected over 800 abnormal results. Taking away funds from Planned Parenthood would deny women life saving medical testing, increase unwanted pregnancies, and deny primary care services to millions of women throughout the country.
I urge my colleagues to oppose the Pence amendment.