Senator Murray: “We’re talking about basic, life-saving health care, like cancer screenings. Or the birth control that so many patients depend on …. So to me, it’s just unthinkable that you wouldn’t support this program—but that’s exactly where extreme Republicans are right now.”
***LISTEN: Senator Murray, advocates discuss fight to protect Title X***
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined Planned Parenthood leaders and a Title X patient at a Planned Parenthood health center in Seattle to talk about how the $4.5 million in Title X funding she helped deliver for Washington state will get patients the reproductive health care they need—and how she will keep fighting to protect and strengthen the program in the face of Republicans’ extreme attacks on reproductive rights.
Senator Murray was joined by Rebecca Gibron, acting CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest; Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates; and Kelsi Dodgion, a Planned Parenthood patient and advocate from Vancouver, Washington.
“The resources I fought for back in the other Washington mean that patients back here in Washington state can get the birth control they need to plan a family on their own terms, life-saving breast and pelvic exams to detect cancer early, STI testing and treatment, and so much more,” said Senator Murray. “We’re talking about basic, life-saving health care …. so to me, it’s just unthinkable that you wouldn’t support this program—but that’s exactly where extreme Republicans are right now.”
During the press conference, Senator Murray made clear that Title X is a critical program that provides patients across Washington state and our country—especially those with the tightest budgets—with essential health care like cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and birth control. This year, Title X funds returned to Washington state after it was forced out of the program due to the Trump Administration’s harmful gag rule—which halved the Title X-funded health care network’s capacity nationwide. Senator Murray led the charge in overturning the harmful rule and vowed at the press conference to continue fighting to defend and expand the program—even as Senate Republicans continue their attacks, in recent weeks introducing a joint resolution to reinstate the gag rule.
At Friday’s event, Senator Murray also highlighted how critical Title X is amid attacks on abortion across the country, including just next door to Washington where Idaho passed one of the country’s most extreme abortion bans. She made clear she’ll continue fighting to protect abortion rights and ensure that reproductive health care providers in Washington have the resources they need to address the health care crises created by extreme abortion bans.
“I’m going to keep going to bat for Washington state patients, fighting to protect abortion rights, and expand critical programs like Title X that ensure patients can get the reproductive health care they need from the providers they trust,” said Senator Murray. “That’s especially important right now—because we all know that the impacts of abortion bans, like the one in Idaho, don’t just stop at state lines. They are a threat to fundamental rights everywhere, and it’s providers and patients in Washington who have to bear the brunt of the health care crises Republicans’ attacks inevitably create.”
“We’re here today because we have got to sound the alarm: abortion access is disappearing, and if anti-reproductive health Republican leaders have their way, contraception and basic preventive reproductive health care like that which Title X provides will go away too,” said Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “This increase in Title X funding is literally lifesaving—lifesaving contraceptives, cancer screenings, and more preventive care for Washingtonians.”
Senator Murray has 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 led the fight in Congress to overturn the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule—and has 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.
“When the Trump administration implemented a gag rule on Title X providers and tried to ban us from giving our patients accurate, complete medical information, it cut the Title X network’s patient capacity nearly in half …. Here in Washington state, we were left with no Title X-funded services at all,” said Rebecca Gibron, acting CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest. “Thanks to Senator Murray’s fight to reverse the gag rule and restore Title X funding in the state of Washington, today we are once again equipped and able to provide care to so many Washingtonians who need it.”
“I grew up with a single mom who worked hard to provide for her children, but due to systemic barriers, we qualified as low income. As a young woman, I knew that I needed to get on birth control, but had no idea how much this would cost, or how I would afford it. I went to a local clinic in my community and was able to get birth control for no cost thanks to the Title X program,” said Kelsi Dodgion, a Planned Parenthood patient and advocate from Vancouver. “Since being a Title X patient, a lot has changed. I graduated college, got a job that I love, and began to advocate with Planned Parenthood …. That’s why support for reproductive justice and Title X is extremely important—because it keeps people like me safe and healthy.”