Lt. Gov. Hochul And Pro-Choice Caucus Rally To Support Planned Parenthood

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

New York – Today, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was joined by members of the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus (BPCLC), including State Senators Krueger, Gianaris and Montgomery, and Assemblymembers Gottfried, Kaminsky, Lavine, Rosenthal, Seawright and Simotas, and activists from NARAL, NOW, NYCLU and others, at a rally to show support for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and oppose any efforts by Congress to cut off funding for PPFA.  BPCLC also released a letter that was sent to members of the New York State Congressional delegation, urging them to oppose any funding cuts.  The full text of the letter can be read below, and is also available here.
PPFA Rally
“Planned Parenthood provides a valuable service to women across the country and is an integral part of our nation’s health care system,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. “Just as I stood with them in Congress, defending them against political extremists who orchestrate a smear campaign to achieve their goal of eliminating a woman’s right to choose, I proudly stand with Planned Parenthood and defend it so that women’s healthcare is not compromised.”

At the rally, supporters recognized the vital services provided by Planned Parenthood to millions of Americans every year, and condemned the ongoing attempts by anti-choice extremists to remove federal funding from PPFA health centers.

“Planned Parenthood has always been on the front lines standing up for women’s equality and health and now it our time to stand with them,” said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Democratic Conference Leader and BPCLC Co-Chair. “The Senate Democrats will continue to fight for women’s rights and health and we will not let Planned Parenthood be unfairly attacked. Together we will build a stronger and fairer state and nation for our daughters and granddaughters.”

“For almost a hundred years, Planned Parenthood has addressed a vital need for women across the country, providing access to a wide array of reproductive healthcare services,” said Senator Krueger, BPCLC Co-Chair.  “In the face of relentless attacks by extremists who want to deny these services to millions of Americans, it is more important than ever that we stand with Planned Parenthood. We must not let anti-choice radicals turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. We are not going back in history; we are going to move forward.”

“For over 99 years Planned Parenthood has been one of the most trusted health care organizations for women in the country,” said Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, BPCLC Co-Chair. “The recent release of heavily edited videos is part of a three year smear campaign orchestrated by one of the more extreme anti-abortion groups whose goal is to prevent women from accessing the care they need. Planned Parenthood, a non-profit health care organization, provided 378,692 pap screenings for cervical cancer, detected 87,988 cases of early breast cancer, performed 487,029 breast exams and does more to prevent unintended pregnancies than any other organization in the country. The donation of fetal tissue is not against the law and is often very cathartic for the women who choose to donate.  It is seen by many in the medical and research field as an invaluable part of research for prevention of several diseases. I will continue to support Planned Parenthood as they continue providing the kind of care women can count on.”

Last year, nationally, Planned Parenthood provided birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other services to 2.7 million patients, and sex education to 1.5 million people. More than 6 in 10 women who receive care at a family planning center consider it their primary, or only, source of care. One in five women in America will receive care from a Planned Parenthood provider at some point in their lives.  In 2013, 1,228,700 women in New York were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Planned Parenthood affiliates across the state are critical in teen pregnancy prevention and the health and safety of their patients has always been their top priority.

Senator Mike Gianaris, said:
“After decades of struggle, we cannot allow women to be stripped of their hard won reproductive health care rights and protections. We need organizations like Planned Parenthood standing up for women’s health and equality and I stand with them in this effort.”

Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Health, said:
“Medical research using fetal tissue donated by the woman is producing significant life-saving advances in our efforts to treat diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy. This attack on Planned Parenthood is anti-life as well as anti-woman and anti-choice. This is a dishonest attempt to vilify Planned Parenthood, through videos edited to imply falsely that Planned Parenthood takes fetal tissue and sells it.  It doesn’t.  This phony claim is now being used to try to deny Planned Parenthood’s patients federally-funded health care.  I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, said:
“Once again anti-abortion militants have set their sights on women’s health care and legally protected rights by twisted and doctored videos. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood provides life-saving health care to women and men from across the country, these vigilantes have sunk to a new low with their specious attacks against the organization. Everyone who supports families and medical health privacy has a responsibility to stand with Planned Parenthood and say once and for all, it’s time to end this war on women.”

Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, said:
“For many low-to-middle income women in New York, Planned Parenthood is their sole-source for quality healthcare. The fact is, one out of every five women visit their community Planned Parenthood centers seeking treatment and testing, sex education services and early-detection cancer screening. These are but a few of the many services offered that would be lost if this community asset goes unfunded.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett, said:
“For generations of New Yorkers, Planned Parenthood has been an invaluable health care provider in communities across our state. Whether for birth control, STD testing or cancer screening, Planned Parenthood is where millions of women — and men — turn for safe, dependable services and information they can trust.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald, said:
“For nearly a century, Planned Parenthood has been expertly assisting and advising women across New York State on various aspects of their health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and assistance during pregnancy. The vital work of Planned Parenthood needs to continue so that women throughout New York do not lose access to vital health care options.”

Senator Brad Hoylman, said:
“Planned Parenthood is an indispensable community resource for women across New York and throughout the country. With a service portfolio ranging from cancer screenings and STD testing to sex education and family planning, Planned Parenthood fills a major gap in access to life-saving and emergency medical care for many Americans. We need to ensure continued support for its work now more than ever.”

Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, said:
“I commend Planned Parenthood and its centers for the important work that they do to promote safe reproductive health and maternal health services. Planned Parenthood’s National Week of Service highlights the vital role they play in the lives of women, men and children by providing sex education, birth control, cancer screening, STD testing, and much more. I firmly believe that Planned Parenthood’s accessibility and lower rates are essential to ensuring the health and education of low and middle income New Yorkers. I have stood with Planned Parenthood in the past, and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, said:
“It is because of organizations like Planned Parenthood, that women have access to all services so that they can make health care and reproductive decisions that are best for them with the consultation of a doctor. Planned Parenthood is a trusted and vital provider of health care services and I am proud to continue to support their work.”

Senator Jose Peralta, said:
“Reproductive healthcare is an essential service for families and must be protected. Attempts to cut funding to Planned Parenthood on the federal level are a step backwards. We must support Planned Parenthood and the crucial work the organization is doing for low-income families who otherwise go without access to reproductive healthcare.”

Assemblymember Todd Kaminsky, said: 
“Adequate healthcare is essential for all New Yorkers—and Planned Parenthood has long been a fundamental provider of reproductive education and care, especially to those who need it most. I am proud to support Planned Parenthood and grateful for all they do for New Yorkers everywhere.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin, said:
“Planned Parenthood’s National Week of Service is a chance to reflect on the important work of Planned Parenthood volunteers and staff. Planned Parenthood centers provide basic healthcare such as STD and cancer screening for many people who would not otherwise be able to access these services.  They are truly an invaluable part of the community and I am pleased to ‘Stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Assemblyman Dan Quart, said:
“Planned Parenthood does the essential work of providing reproductive health care to my constituents and all across New York. They bravely operate in an increasingly hostile climate, often serving as the only abortion provider for miles around. I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood today and every day.”

Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW – New York State, said:
“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider of women’s health services for nearly a century. In the US alone, nearly 3 million women rely on these critical health care services for annual pap smears, birth control, abortion care and more. It’s no surprise that voters consistently and overwhelmingly are opposed to Planned Parenthood being defunded. We urge our pro-choice lawmakers to join voters – women and men – in standing with Planned Parenthood and for the health and safety of women and their families.”

Corinne Carey, Co-Chair, Assistant Legislative Director, NYCLU, said:
“We should be looking for ways to expand women’s access to health care, not restrict it. Women rely on Planned Parenthood for crucial health care services, including pregnancy tests, cancer screenings and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. For many low-income, uninsured or underinsured people, Planned Parenthood is a primary health care provider. That’s why the New York Civil Liberties Union stands with Planned Parenthood and its commitment to ensuring all women have equal access to reproductive health care.”

Miriam W. Yeung, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), said:
“We are disgusted by the recent sting operations targeting Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has been a critical ally to NAPAWF and a tremendous resource for women in my community — giving us the opportunity to plan our families so we can pursue our own dreams and shape our destinies. Today, we stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Andrea Miller, President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, said:
“Every day, abortion care providers risk harassment just for providing compassionate care to women who have decided to have an abortion. We will not stand by as extremists spread lies and misinformation in order to ban abortion and shut down clinics. We thank our pro-choice New York elected officials and join them in standing with Planned Parenthood, abortion providers, and the women and families who benefit from abortion care.”

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Letter from BPCLC to NYS Congressional Delegation:

Dear New York Congressional Delegation,

We are writing to you as members of the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus (BPCLC) to oppose any votes to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers. Such a move would leave millions of women without access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other lifesaving healthcare. The BPCLC is comprised of 86 legislators in both the New York State Senate and Assembly, dedicated to protecting access to quality reproductive health services, safeguarding legal rights to reproductive healthcare in New York State, and providing a voice for state legislators in policy debates at both the state and national level.

As you know, anti-choice extremists have recently launched an attack against Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). To date, two undercover videos have been released, showing PPFA medical staff discussing fetal tissue donation with anti-choice activists posing as representatives from a bio-medical company. These heavily edited videos are part of a smear-campaign aimed at de-funding Planned Parenthood and ending access to abortion by falsely alleging that PPFA is selling human tissue. As was made clear in their response to these attacks, PPFA has offered to help some patients who want to donate fetal tissue for vital medical research, which is entirely legal. PPFA does not receive any financial benefit for this service, but is sometimes reimbursed for costs. As the full, unedited videos show, it is false and despicable to suggest that Planned Parenthood profits from their patients’ decisions to donate fetal tissue. To be clear: there is nothing in these videos that suggests any violation of law.

The New York Times reported that, “the Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.” These misleading videos are the latest attack in a coordinated effort to change the course of the debate around reproductive health and advance a radical agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. Anti-choice groups have long pushed to defund Planned Parenthood, even though no federal money is used to provide abortions.

These attacks must not be allowed to succeed. Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country, having delivered high-quality care for nearly 100 years, and it is the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care and sex education to women, men, and young people. It is also is an important safety net provider for millions of low to middle-income Americans. Giving in to extremists by shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics would cut off 2.7 million people from access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive healthcare services.

As lawmakers, we are called upon to stand up for the rights of our citizens. One in five women in America have turned to Planned Parenthood for high-quality health care at some point in their lives. We must stand with Planned Parenthood to ensure our community members continue to have access to affordable, quality health care from a trusted provider they depend on.

The BPCLC firmly supports Planned Parenthood and urges you to vote against any attacks on them and the critical services they provide.

You may reach the NYS Bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus at (212) 490-9535.

Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,

Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee
Caucus Co-chair

Senator Liz Krueger
Caucus Co-chair

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Caucus Co-chair