WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon to urge her colleagues to oppose the Title X Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval.
The resolution would overturn a federal regulation that prohibits states from discriminating against family planning health care providers and denying them federal funding. Family planning health centers provide primary, preventive, and reproductive health care services to millions of American women.
Below are Senator Gillibrand's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, I rise to oppose the Title X Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval.
This bill would permit discrimination against family planning health care providers, who provide primary, preventive, and reproductive health care services to millions of women across the country.
It would allow states to take away federal funding from family planning clinics, and make it much harder for millions of American women to meet with their health care providers and access basic care.
And I am struggling to understand why, amid all of the problems we have to solve here in this country and around the world, why this Congress seems to have such a singular fixation on controlling women's access to basic health care.
This legislation is so far out of touch with the actual needs of our constituents.
If we cut funding from women's health clinics, is that going to create more good-paying jobs? Is it going to open more factories in our upstate rural towns?
I don't believe it will.
It's certainly not going to make anyone healthier.
There are millions of American women, including thousands of women in my state of New York, who rely on Title X health clinics for treatments, for preventive care, and for family planning services.
They need these health clinics, because they provide contraception counseling, cancer screenings, and medical expertise, right there in their communities.
Many of the women who use these services have nowhere else to go to access care – because Title X clinics are often the only affordable option for them, or may even be the only place at all that's within driving distance of their communities.
Yet once again, my colleagues are pushing legislation to limit women's options for accessing health care, and make it harder for thousands of New York women to get the care and treatments they need.
I continue to be amazed by how little empathy there seems to be for the millions of women in our country who don't have the resources to travel to major hospitals outside of their communities, and desperately need these local clinics to stay healthy.
And let's be very clear about whom this legislation would hurt the most.
This bill would hurt women in small towns and rural communities more than anyone else. It would cause lower-income women to struggle even more.
Every single one of my colleagues has many women in their states who rely on Title X clinics, and would suffer if these clinics had their federal funding taken away.
So I urge my colleagues in this chamber, when it's time to vote on this legislation, think about the women who live in your states.
Think about the women who live in small towns and rural communities, who are just trying to access basic women's health care services that they can afford.
Think about the women who don't have big hospitals or big cities nearby.
Think about the women who don't have enough money to travel.
This bill would hurt them. It would make their lives harder, not easier.
We all have a responsibility to stand up for the women in our states, and that includes defending their access to health care and basic family planning services.
So I urge my colleagues to vote against this very discriminatory bill.
I yield the floor.