Rep. Engel Speaks Out Against Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood

Rep. Engel Speaks Out Against Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, stated his strong opposition to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

On September 30, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve budget reconciliation recommendations that would bar Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood and abolish the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. On the same day, the full House voted to approve H. Con. Res. 79, which would cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year.

Congressman Engel opposed both of these efforts, and released the following statement regarding the Energy and Commerce Committee’s efforts:

“Today, in the interest of reconciling our budget, this Committee is considering abolishing Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood.

“I understand the need to get our fiscal house in order – I do not, however, understand the impulse to do so by gutting funding for an organization that affords preventative services to more than 2 million American men and women.Planned Parenthood is being demonized in response to discredited allegations of wrongdoing, even though Planned Parenthood has not violated state or federal law.

“Some argue that community health centers could fill the void that would be created if Planned Parenthood clinics closed their doors. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural areas, medically underserved areas, or health professional shortage areas. My district contains such ‘shortage areas,’ where access to care is already inadequate.

“It is not hard to understand, then, why the American Public Health Association called the idea that community health centers could simply take on all the patients who rely on Planned Parenthood ‘ludicrous.’ It is also not hard to imagine how unlikely it will be that women and men in these underserved areas will be able to access vital cervical cancer screenings, STI tests and HIV tests if Planned Parenthood centers were to disappear.”

The vote to defund Planned Parenthood is the 15th anti-women’s health vote in the current Congress. Fittingly, as Congressional Republicans continue their attempts at rolling back women’s reproductive rights, September 30th also marked the 39th anniversary of the Hyde amendment, which withholds federal dollars from covering abortion except in limited circumstances.