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Letter to The Honorable Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, and The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) joined Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and 39 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to oppose extreme proposals by House Republicans to eliminate support for women's health and family planning programs and providers.

In the letter, the Senators point out that the Title X family planning program serves about five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these individuals and families rely on Title X funded health care providers as their primary source of health care.

The letter also expresses the Senators' opposition to the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control and other preventive health care services. Planned Parenthood serves nearly three million women and families nationwide each year, providing more than 3.9 million tests for sexually transmitted diseases, 737,000 pap tests and 720,000 breast exams.

The letter was signed by Senators Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Begich (D-AK), Bennet (D-CO), Bingaman (D-NM), Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Boxer (D-CA), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Coons (D-DE), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Hagan (D-NC), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (I-CT), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Reed (D-RI), Sanders (I-VT), Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Warner (D-VA), Webb (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the Senators' letter is below:

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

During this economic downturn, many women and families are struggling to make ends meet, and are relying on women's health and family planning centers for access to essential health care services such as breast exams, other cancer and disease screenings, contraception and more.

We write to you today to affirm our strong support for making women's health and family planning services affordable and available, and ask that you stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House to eliminate support for women's health and family planning programs and providers that serve millions of women and families.

We know the Title X family planning program serves nearly five million low-income women and men at more than 4,500 health centers each year. Many of these people rely on Title X funded health care providers as their primary source of health care. Yet, the House-passed Continuing Resolution would eliminate all funding for Title X and leave millions of Americans at risk.

We also oppose the provision in the House-passed Continuing Resolution that cuts Planned Parenthood health centers off from federal funds used to provide cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health care services to three million Americans every year.

Without access to these services, many of these women will be unable to get preventive screenings, be at far greater risk for diseases such as cancer and will face more unintended pregnancies.

Protecting women's health is a goal we can all agree on. We urge you to stand with us against extreme proposals by some Members of the House that would harm women and their families.

Sincerely,

Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Mark Begich
Senator Michael Bennet
Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Chris Coons
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Senator Al Franken
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator Kay Hagan
Senator Tim Johnson
Senator John Kerry
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Herb Kohl
Senator Mary Landrieu
Senator Frank Lautenberg
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Carl Levin
Senator Joe Lieberman
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Bob Menendez
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Jon Tester
Senator Mark Udall
Senator Tom Udall
Senator Mark Warner
Senator Jim Webb
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Ron Wyden


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