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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WAXMAN. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WAXMAN. A number of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the Republican side of the aisle, have said they don't want abortion to be funded and, therefore, they're going to vote for the Pence amendment. But they believe that people ought to be able to get the clinical and preventive services that a group like Planned Parenthood would otherwise make available to them.

Well, look. Plant Planned Parenthood does not pay for anybody's abortion using taxpayers' dollars. That is clearly in the law. It's covered by the Hart amendment. If Planned Parenthood has abortion services, it is completely separate. It is not only separate from family planning services and others for which they get government funding, they have to keep separate records. It's a completely different operation.

So the Pence amendment is trying to strike the funds under the health and human services programs for the services that Planned Parenthood as an organization would provide for them. Now it's not just family planning funds. It's all Federal programs, including Medicaid and the community health centers program. This organization serves 15 percent of all women in need of contraceptive services in the U.S., and for millions of women, it is their primary health care provider, the place they go to not only for planning services but basic preventive health services such as cancer screenings.

Take that money away from them, they're not going to be able to serve the women who need those services. So where will those people go? Are they going to go to the community health centers? Well, this particular funding bill takes out a billion dollars from the community health centers. Where else can they go? Are they going to look to the Medicaid program? One of the entitlements that the Republicans most want to savage is Medicaid. Then where can they go? Are they going to go to the exchange in a couple of years that will be available under the Affordable Care Act? Of course not. The Republicans are trying to repeal that law.

What will be the consequences? The consequences will not diminish the number of abortions. The consequences will be to deny women, and men, who may go to a clinic or to Planned Parenthood in order to get basic medical services. I think this is a serious mistake. If you're against abortion, be against abortion. But don't take it out on Planned Parenthood because they serve abortion clients in a separate operation. That's like saying I never want to pay for any services provided by a doctor, even though it's not abortion services. I don't want that doctor getting any money for contraceptive services. I don't want that doctor to be paid if he's providing screening for venereal disease. I don't want that doctor to be paid for any other service because he might also, without your funds being used, provide abortion services.

When you look at this carefully, this is trying to punish Planned Parenthood. But the ones who get punished are the people who won't be able to get the family planning services and the preventive screening services that Planned Parenthood regularly provides, and they won't be the only provider for many of these women because they have nowhere else to go if they can't afford to go see a private doctor and pay for it.

I thought it was amazing to hear an argument that was made on the House floor that one Member didn't like money to go to Planned Parenthood because they're competing with for-profit abortion services. I just was stunned by that argument. I didn't know what it meant, except perhaps they'd like to have the private, for-profit abortion services be able to provide the services instead of Planned Parenthood.

Whatever happens there is another issue, because Federal dollars, taxpayers' money, will not be used for it. But taxpayers' dollars should be used for title X family planning, for Medicaid, for community health centers, for health screening, for preventive health services, and that's why the Pence amendment should be defeated.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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