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Quigley Speaks Out Against Anti-Choice Amendment to Appropriations Bill

Jul 24, 2009
Press Release

CHICAGO – This morning, Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) spoke out strongly against an amendment that would disqualify Planned Parenthood from receiving critical funding to provide primary care health services such as breast exams, family planning, and screening for high blood pressure, cancer, STDs, and HIV. The amendment, offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), was disguisedly characterized as a way to stop the service provider from receiving Title X (ten) funding to pay for abortions, even though providers are statutorily prohibited from using the funds in that way.

Rather, as Quigley points out in his speech below, the Title X program allows health centers such as Planned Parenthood to provide primary care to almost two million women. For many of these low-income women, particularly those who do not qualify for Medicaid or cannot afford health insurance, Title X clinics provide the only basic health care that they receive.

The text of Cong. Quigley's floor speech is below. Video is available on the Congressman's YouTube channel ("Q-Tube") by clicking here.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the Pence amendment.

At a time when we are consumed with discussions of expanding health care to the uninsured and improving our health care system, I find this amendment - confusing.

The Pence amendment would effectively cut off 1.7 million women from - what in many cases serves as their primary care provider
 Planned Parenthood.

Aren't we trying to expand coverage, not limit it?

Thirty-six percent of women receiving family planning care through the Title X program, do so through Planned Parenthood.

And let's be clear, these services do not include abortion
– Title X dollars are prohibited from being spent on abortion.

The services we are talking about cutting include: breast exams, testing for cervical cancer, screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV screening, and family planning services.

Planned Parenthood has worked for over 90 years to educate women about pregnancy and help prevent unintended pregnancies
and thus the need for abortion.

For 1.7 million, the only medical care they will be able to receive this year is from a provider at Planned Parenthood.

Why, when we are working so diligently to reform our health care system, would we take away the only source of health care many women receive?

Vote no on this destructive amendment; vote no on the Pence amendment.

The larger bill – H.R. 3293, the Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act (LHHSE) – shores up programs that serve as crucial social safety nets for many Americans struggling to make ends meet in this recession. It includes funding to provide jobs, meals and other support services to impoverished seniors, as well as critical energy assistance programs that help heat and cool low income homes. The bill also funds grants that allow states to provide health care to more of their uninsured residents.

This year's appropriations bill also does not bar funds for needle exchange programs, though Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) tried to stop up this avenue through another amendment that would reinstate a ban on federal funding for such life-saving services. Quigley voted against both the Souder and Pence amendments.

The Labor-HHS appropriations bill passed the House moments ago on a vote of 264-153. The Pence and Souder amendments both failed.