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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. HIRONO. I rise today in strong support of the Lowey amendment and in strong opposition to cuts to the title X funds in this continuing resolution.

These cuts are a threat to women's health, as you have heard from so many of the previous speakers. For example, these cuts will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving needed Federal funds. Much of the cuts in H.R. 1 target the most vulnerable among us, the poor, children, young adults, and women.

We are a diverse country, proud of it, with good people on all sides of an issue, including of course the issue of abortion. We know that cutting title X funds strikes at a favorite target of the anti-choice group, Planned Parenthood.

Sadly, in pursuing their anti-choice agenda, tens of thousands of women in our country will be denied health care services that have absolutely nothing to do with abortions. 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 treatments. Abortion services comprise only 3 percent of the medical care Planned Parenthood provides. Federal law already prohibits title X funds from being used for abortion services. It is important to point out that there are no known violations of this law.

I would like to share with this body my views on how Planned Parenthood Hawaii has helped women and their families in my State. In Hawaii, there are three Planned Parenthood centers: one in Honolulu on the Island of Oahu, one in Kahului on the Island of Maui, and one in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii. Together, these three centers served over 7,800 patients. They provided 2,582 cervical cancer screenings that detected 321 abnormal results that required further diagnoses and treatment. These represent lives saved. They provided 2,705 breast exams. They conducted 3,346 tests for chlamydia, the leading cause of preventible infertility, that resulted in 172 positive results and follow-up treatment.

By cutting funding for title X family planning programs, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kailua-Kona would have to close its doors. That center is one of the only dedicated sexual and reproductive health clinics on that island. The centers in Maui and Oahu would be forced to reduce their clinic hours. Cutting title X funds eliminates a safety net program that provides family planning services and lifesaving preventative care to 3 million Americans every year.

I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing H.R. 1, and I join my colleague, Mrs. Lowey, in saying to the women of this country, we need to take our bodies back.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Ms. HIRONO. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in strong support of this amendment introduced by my colleague, Congressman Don Young, to support Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian education. This amendment makes these worthwhile programs eligible for these education funds.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

* [Begin Insert]

Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong support of the amendment introduced by my colleague Congressman Don Young.

I appreciate the opportunity to work with him on this amendment. For many years, Congressman Young has been a leader on issues of importance to the indigenous, aboriginal peoples of the United States. He understands that we have a special trust responsibility to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. And while we sit on different sides of the aisle, the bond between the native peoples of Alaska and Hawaii transcends political party.

The Native Hawaiian Education Act was enacted in 1988 and was last reauthorized in 2002 as a part of the No Child Left Behind Act. Native Hawaiians have historically experienced educational risk factors, such as high rates of poverty and low academic achievement. The modest appropriations provided under the Native Hawaiian Education Act have helped to improve educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian children and remain necessary in reversing low achievement trends.

One of the successes of the program has been the flourishing of the Hawaiian language. Following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893, use of the Hawaiian language in public classrooms was banned. This decline in the use of the language paralleled declines in other aspects of a once vibrant culture and community. We know that loss of one's language is part and parcel of the loss of one's culture. Like all too many native languages, Hawaiian was on the brink of extinction. It was only in 1986 that the ban on Hawaiian language in schools was removed. Now, with funds from the Native Hawaiian Education Act, Hawaiian language is taught through immersion schools, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through high school.

We now have a growing cadre of young people who are fluent in the Hawaiian language--thanks in great part to the existence of the Native Hawaiian Education Program. Several tribes have looked to the success of the Hawaiian language program as a model for how they can ensure the survival of their language.

I met with a student named Kuulei last week. She grew up in a Hawaiian homestead community where attending college was not thought possible. She attended a Native Hawaiian immersion school and through hard work and perseverance is now a student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. After graduation, she plans to become a teacher so she can inspire the next generation of Native Hawaiian students.

The school that Kuulei attends, the University of Hawaii at Hilo is home to the Ka Haka Ula O Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language. In December 2010, the College awarded its first two doctorates in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization. The honors went to Katarina Edmonds, a Maori educator from New Zealand, and Kauanoe Kamana, the first of Native Hawaiian ancestry to receive a Ph.D. in Hawaiian Language from UH Hilo.

The amendment before your today does not increase funding for Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian education programs. All this amendment does is make these worthwhile and successful programs eligible for funds from the Department of Education School Improvement account.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much).

* [End Insert]


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