04.27.22

Senator Murray Defeats Senate Republicans’ Attempt to Undermine Birth Control, Cancer Screenings, and STI Testing & Treatment

Final vote on Republicans’ resolution to reinstate Trump-era Title X gag rule was 49-49

 

Senator Murray: “This vote is about birth control. It’s about life-saving pelvic and breast exams to detect cancer early. And it’s about STI testing and treatments. That’s the basic reproductive health care that Title X providers deliver to communities—especially to women with the tightest budgets. Republicans are here fighting to undermine health care. It’s really that simple.”

 

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

  

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, took to the Senate floor to fight back against Republicans’ latest attempt to undermine patients’ ability to get birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatments, and other essential reproductive health care. In a speech, she urged her colleagues to vote against Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senate Republicans’ joint resolution to reinstate the Trump-era gag Title X rule. The final vote on the resolution was 49-49.

 

“I want to be really clear what this vote is about,” said Senator Murray. “This vote is about birth control. It’s about life-saving pelvic and breast exams to detect cancer early. And it’s about STI testing and treatments. That’s the basic reproductive health care that Title X providers deliver to communities—especially to women with the tightest budgets. Republicans are here fighting to undermine health care. It’s really that simple. And I’m here fighting to protect it. And this is not my first rodeo—I can guarantee you that.”

 

The Title X network provides patients across the country with lifesaving reproductive health care, but the Trump-era gag rule prohibited providers who receive Title X funds from informing their patients about the full range of health care options available to them—and halved the Title X-funded health care network’s capacity. The Trump administration’s gag rule forced entire states, including Washington state, out of the Title X program—denying them much-needed family planning funding—and compromised the health care of millions of patients nationwide. Senator Murray led the fight in Congress to overturn the Trump administration’s disastrous Title X gag rule, and President Biden rescinded the rule last year. Since it was rescinded, Senator Murray has secured millions of dollars in new Title X funding for Washington state.

 

“I didn’t fight tooth and nail to reverse the Trump gag rule—I didn’t fight to restore millions in funding to help Washington state patients—just to let Republicans rip that care away again,” added Senator Murray. “I am going to make sure everyone who supports this resolution owns what this vote means—and who they’re voting against: women who want birth control—that’s two-thirds of adult women by the way—patients who are seeking STI screenings, people who need a cancer screening, and people who are just looking for affordable health care and information from providers they trust. Because, women will not forget which party is fighting to protect birth control and which party is doing everything it can to rip your birth control away.”

 

On the Senator floor, Senator Murray also stressed that she wouldn’t stop fighting to protect the Title X program—and the access to birth control that it provides millions across the country—especially in the face of Republican abortion bans in states across the country, like Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, and more.

 

“The message Republicans are sending with this vote, loud and clear, is that they won’t just stop at banning abortion with cruel laws like those we’ve seen in Texas, Oklahoma, and even just across the border from Washington state in Idaho,” said Senator Murray. “They are determined to restrict access to all kinds of reproductive health care—from abortion to birth control to STI testing and treatment.”

 

Senator Murray has long been a leader in Congress in the fight to protect and expand access to reproductive health care and abortion rights. Since the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Senator Murray has vowed to fight back and protect Roe v. Wade and everyone’s reproductive rights—including by building support and fighting to hold a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect the right to abortion nationwide. Senator Murray has also been fighting to protect patients’ access to birth control by making sure that insurers cover their birth control without out-of-pocket costs, as the Affordable Care Act requires.

 

Senator Murray’s floor speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:

 

“Thank you M. President.

 

“I want to be really clear what this vote is about.

 

“This vote is about birth control.

 

“It’s about life-saving pelvic and breast exams to detect cancer early.

 

“And it’s about STI testing and treatments.

 

“That’s the basic reproductive health care that Title X providers deliver to communities—especially to women with the tightest budgets.

 

“Republicans are here fighting to undermine health care.

 

“It’s really that simple.

 

“And I’m here fighting to protect it. And this is not my first rodeo—I can guarantee you that.

 

“I fought long and hard against President Trump’s disastrous gag rule.

 

“A rule that cut the Title X provider network in HALF, forced entire states—including my home state of Washington—out of the Title X program, forced doctors and nurses to withhold information from their patients on all the options they have, including abortion, and ultimately resulted in patients traveling farther, paying more, or going without care.

 

“In short—it made it harder for women to get birth control, and other critical reproductive health care.

 

“And that to me, was just unacceptable. 

 

“That’s why I was so relieved when after years of fighting back against Republicans’ extreme agenda, President Biden acted quickly to reverse that dangerous gag rule, and we could finally start rebuilding the Title X network and providing patients with critical reproductive health care.

 

“And I know patients and providers in my state were relieved too—I heard from them firsthand earlier this month about what this means for our communities.

 

“It means Washington state patients can get the birth control they need to plan a family on their own terms, breast and pelvic exams to detect cancer early, STI testing and treatment, and so much more.

 

“But—as has so often been the case—most Republicans just aren’t listening.

“Because, today, they are leading a resolution to bring back the gag rule and deny women across the country access to services made possible by Title X.

 

“We’re talking about basic, life-saving health care, like cancer screenings.

 

“We’re talking about STI screenings. Which is especially important as cases—which are already underreported due to decreased screenings—have been spiking.

 

“We’re talking about birth control that so many patients depend on to stay healthy, treat health conditions, plan their families, and control their own reproductive health. 

 

“M. President, talking about these issues, it is just unthinkable to me that anyone wouldn’t support this program but what are Republicans talking about?

 

“They are talking about once again taking this health care away from millions of patients—they are forcing a vote on it.

 

“And extreme Republicans are even talking about how they think Griswold v. Connecticut—that’s the U.S. Supreme Court case that first struck down a ban on birth control—might have been wrongly decided.

 

“That is chilling. What year is this?!

 

“The message Republicans are sending with this vote, loud and clear, is that they won’t just stop at banning abortion with cruel laws like those we’ve seen in Texas, Oklahoma, and even just across the border from Washington state in Idaho, they are determined to restrict access to all kinds of reproductive health care.

 

“From abortion to birth control to STI testing and treatment.

 

“Well M. President. I am not going to stand for it.

“I didn’t fight tooth and nail to reverse the Trump gag rule—I didn’t fight to restore millions in funding to help Washington state patients—just to let Republicans rip that care away again.

 

“Patients, providers, and families across Washington state have spoken out loud and clear on this.

“And I am going to make sure they are heard here in Washington D.C.


“I am going to make sure we protect Title X from Republican attacks.


“And I am going to make sure everyone who supports this resolution owns what this vote means—and who they’re voting against: women who want birth control—that’s two-thirds of adult women by the way—patients who are seeking STI screenings, people who need a cancer screening, and people who are just looking for affordable health care and information from providers they trust.

 

“Because, women will not forget, which party is fighting to protect birth control and which party is doing everything it can to rip your birth control away.

 

“I urge every single one of my colleagues to join me in voting against this resolution.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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