U.S. House District 2 Close
Supporting equality for LGBTQ Americans
- On March 13, 2019, Congressman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) reintroduced the Equality Act (H.R. 5), a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. The LGBTQ community have historically been among our nation’s most vulnerable, even within our health care system. While some states have moved to ban discrimination, in 30 states LGBTQ people can be fired, refused housing, or denied services simply because of who they are. The Equality Act would expand already existing anti-discimination laws to include LGBTQ people to ensure every LGBTQ person living in the United States is guaranteed equal protection under the law. A vote FOR H.R. 5 was a vote in support of women’s health. The bill passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 236-173.
Allowing doctors to refuse medical care to patients based on their personal beliefs
- On June 12, 2019, Congressman Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) offered an amendment to H.R. 2740 that would strike language from the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill to prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services from implementing the refusals of care final rule announced in May 2019. The rule would, among other things, permit health care providers to refuse to provide standard medical care to patients based on their personal beliefs, not based on what is best for the patient’s health. People should be able to trust that their health care provider will offer the best medical care possible. No one should have to worry about whether they will get the right care or information because of their providers’ personal beliefs. Freedom of religion is important but that freedom should not give anyone the right to hurt people, impose one’s beliefs on others, or to discriminate in how they provide health care. A vote AGAINST the Cole Amendment was a vote in support of women’s health. The amendment failed the House of Representatives with a vote of 192-230.
Interfering with the doctor-patient relationship (2019)
- On June 12, 2019, Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Alabama) offered an amendment to H.R. 2740 that would strike language from the FY20 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill blocking the implementation of the Trump-Pence administration domestic gag rule for the Title X Family Planning Program. The gag rule prohibits Title X projects from referring patients for abortion and also removes the current requirement that patients must be given access to non-directive counseling on all of their family planning options. The gag rule also imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical and financial” separation requirements on Title X recipients, which are ultimately designed to block Title X patients from coming to Planned Parenthood - or any other health care provider who provides abortion services - for birth control, cancer screenings and other preventive care. This would result in patients losing access to care, since Planned Parenthood serves 40 percent (1.5 million) of the 4 million people who rely on Title X health centers. The gag rule dangerously interferes in the trusted provider-patient relationship by restricting what providers can tell their patients. It violates basic medical ethics and would breach bedrock principles of modern medical and nursing practice, by prohibiting a provider from referring for abortion, and allowing a provider to withhold other necessary information about abortion that is critical to a patient’s ability to make informed medical decisions. A vote AGAINST the Roby Amendment was a vote in support of women’s health. The amendment failed the House of Representatives with a vote of 191-231.
Striking the requirement that no less than $750 million of Global Health Programs funding be made available for international family planning/reproductive health programs
- On June 13, 2019, Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) offered an amendment to H.R. 2740 that would strike language from the FY20 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill that would require that no less than $750 million of Global Health Programs funding be made available for international family planning/reproductive health programs. Over 24 million women receive contraceptives from U.S. supported international family planning programs based on FY 2019 funding levels - and millions more stand to gain access with the designated $750 million funding level. In FY 2019, the U.S. invested $607.5 million in international family planning and reproductive health, including $32.5 million for UNFPA. The Lesko amendment would jeopardize these critical and lifesaving international family planning and reproductive health programs by cutting much needed funding to keep the programs running. We cannot improve women’s health, address the unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, and support healthy families globally, without robust investments in international family planning. This spending will ensure women can access family planning counseling and the full range of contraceptive options that they want. A vote AGAINST the Lesko Amendment was a vote in support of women’s health. The amendment failed the House of Representatives with a vote of 188-225.
Establishing a high-quality family planning educational program across all branches of the military.
- On July 11, 2019, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California) offered an amendment to H.R. 2500 that would require the Department of Defense to ensure service members have access to counseling and education about family planning, including the prevention of unintended pregnancy, and transmission of sexually transmitted infections, that is medically accurate and scientifically based. Family planning is one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. The availability of family planning services allows individuals to achieve desired birth spacing and family size, and contributes to improved health outcomes for infants, children, women, and families. Congresswoman Speier’s amendment works to ensure service members are provided the information they need to make informed sexual and reproductive health decisions, and that they are provided these resources during the first year of service. A vote FOR the Speier Amendment was a vote in support of women’s health. The amendment passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 231-199.
PPAF is Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Learn more about Planned Parenthood Action Fund at www.plannedparenthoodaction.org.