Murray to fight cuts to family planning

Washington senator makes comments at D.C. rally Thursday

By Kathie Durbin, Columbian staff writer

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U.S. Sen. Patty Murray vowed Thursday that she would fight Republican efforts to strip federal support for women’s health and family planning programs from a budget to fund the federal government through Oct. 1.

The Washington Democrat, a member of the Senate leadership, said at a Washington, D.C., rally Thursday that she would oppose any budget that includes Republican policy riders blocking patients’ access to lifesaving cancer screenings, affordable family planning services, prenatal care and Planned Parenthood clinics. The rally on the Capitol Mall was organized by Planned Parenthood.

A policy rider in the House GOP budget for the next six months would cut all federal funding for family planning and for Planned Parenthood, the only source of low-cost family planning services in Clark County. Planned Parenthood organizers have collected more than 45,000 signatures in Washington on petitions opposing the rider. Earlier this week, Murray joined 40 other senators in pledging to block Republican’s efforts to cut off support for women’s health care in the budget continuing resolution.

In her speech at the rally, Murray said she had posted a message on her Facebook page inviting women to share their personal experiences with Planned Parenthood. A story from a woman named Maggie “really struck me,” Murray said. “She told me that when she was 18 years old, she moved out because her home situation was very abusive. But when she left home, she had no money and no access to health care. Luckily for Maggie, Planned Parenthood was there for her with medication and regular checkups she needed because cervical cancer ran in her family.”

Murray took a jab at House Republican leaders for focusing on hot-button ideological issues during the ongoing budget debate.

“They said they wanted to come here to create jobs, reduce the deficit, even work with us,” Murray said. “It turns out what they really came to D.C. for was more about ideology than our economy. It turns out that when push comes to shove, their real target isn’t unemployment — it’s Planned Parenthood.”

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, supports the continuing budget resolution that includes the language eliminating funding for family planning.