Just over a month ago I sent a letter to my senators urging them to vote against HR1, a bill that would cut all funding for Planned Parenthood . . . that’s funding for cancer screening, HIV testing, birth control . . . let’s get this straight: it has NOTHING to do with abortion. Yes, Planned Parenthood performs abortions, but they are already banned from using federal funding to pay for those abortions. This is funding that would only go for family health services, mainly women’s health services and preventative health services.
I received a letter back from Pat Toomey within a couple of weeks. I received the letter from Bob Casey yesterday. Toomey’s letter gave me the impression of a brush off . . . a “yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you want to talk about this, but here, let me tell you about that” kind of message. Casey’s letter gave me some hope that there really is some intelligence in those representing us. What do you think?
Thank you for contacting me with your opinions on federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and your request for my support. I appreciate hearing from you and value your input as I begin my Senate service on behalf of Pennsylvania.
The people of Pennsylvania have sent Congress a clear message that has been ignored for too long. The time has come for government to live within its means. The national deficit has grown too large. The burdens we place on small businesses in our state and across the country are unacceptable. Our economy is failing to create enough jobs and opportunity to a more competitive global environment.
I realize that constituents send people to Congress to fix these problems. While in Washington, I will work for fiscal discipline, limited government, economic growth, and the job creation that accompanies a strong economy. It is essential that we change our current course, and I welcome knowing your views about how Congress can better discharge its duties.
Thank you again, I will take your comments under advisement as this issue unfolds on the Senate Floor. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Dear Ms. Fraschilla:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about family planning. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
Access to family planning services is of paramount importance for women in America. As a public official, I have sought to support family planning as an essential means of preventing unintended pregnancies. Because reducing the number of unintended pregnancies reduces the number of abortions, I will continue to support programs that expand access to family planning services.
Increasing access to comprehensive health insurance is a critical first step to ensuring the health of more women and their families. As of 2008, 14 percent of women in the United States had no health insurance. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Act”) into law. The Act will make significant changes to health coverage for woman, expanding health insurance coverage to an estimated 12.3 million additional women, and guaranteeing greater access to recommended preventive health benefits.
The expansion of Medicaid family planning programs in the Act presents an opportunity to improve low income women’s access to contraceptive services. Following passage of the Act, states are now able to expand their state Medicaid family planning programs without first obtaining federal approval. The Act also makes important progress toward ending insurance companies’ discriminatory coverage policies, such as treating pregnancy as a pre-existing condition.
The Act also includes a new program, the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, based on legislation I introduced. The Pregnancy Assistance Fund will reduce the number of abortions by providing support for pregnant women, including funding for programs that help pregnant or parenting teens and young women stay in school; funding for colleges and universities to provide pregnancy and parenting resources for their students; and assistance to states to provide intervention services, accompaniment and supportive social services for pregnant victims of domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking. This amendment was included in the Act and received $250 million in appropriated funds. Pilot programs are currently being implemented in 17 different states to address the needs of these young women.
At my urging, the Act also extends and increases funding for adoption by $1.2 billion over two years, by extending and increasing the Adoption Tax Credit. The recently-enacted Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 extended the tax credit as it existed before the Act for another year, through 2012.
I have also consistently supported funding for the Title X national family planning program to provide contraceptive services and other health care to low income women. As a pro-life Senator, I believe family planning reduces the number of unintended pregnancies, and thereby reduces the number of abortions.
I voted against H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, which would have eliminated funding for Title X and barred Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for non-abortion related health care. Providers are statutorily prohibited by the Hyde Amendment from using federal funds for abortion. Title X funding also supports well-woman and preventive health care like annual gynecological exams and gynecological cancer screenings.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my web site, http://casey.senate.gov
. I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator