It's a new year with a new Speaker, but the same old story - the decades long saga of Republican attacks on women's health care and their health care providers. The GOP continues to target not only Constitutionally-protected abortions and Planned Parenthood, but, incredibly, birth control which 99 per cent of American women depend on during their reproductive years. In their budget Republicans completely eliminated Title X funding for family planning.
This effort is part of a confounding political strategy. One can only presume, despite unequivocal polling to the contrary, that Republicans believe relentlessly attacking womens' abilities to make their own health care decisions is popular and will help them win elections. I believe it is at their peril that they pursue this anti-women agenda.
Last fall, in the wake of the release of doctored videos produced, likely illegally, by an anti-abortion group, the Republicans demanded the creation of a Select Panel to investigate Planned Parenthood. We know this new investigation will lead us nowhere, because the three House Committees and eight states that have investigated Planned Parenthood have already found no wrongdoing. In addition, the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (one of the committees that investigated Planned Parenthood), Jason Chaffetz, said, "I'm not suggesting that they broke the law."
What we do know is that millions of Americans could lose their health care if the Republicans were successful in their crusade against Planned Parenthood. Every year, Planned Parenthood serves three million Americans -- men and women -- and one in five women will receive care at a Planned Parenthood clinic in her lifetime. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 900,000 cervical cancer screenings and breast exams each year. What's more, Planned Parenthood's family planning services prevents thousands upon thousands of abortions.
Despite the creation of the Select Panel, last week, the Republicans chose, before even one meeting was held, to vote overwhelmingly to defund Planned Parenthood. As part of the reconciliation bill, they rendered a guilty verdict without any evidence.
President Obama has already vetoed this bill, which also repealed Obamacare for the 62nd time -- another blow to women's health care -- and his veto will be sustained. But we must remain vigilant because we know the Republicans will come back again and again to attack Planned Parenthood, threatening women's access to health care and using inflammatory rhetoric that spurs violence against clinics and providers.
Facts matter. The truth matters, and despite my objection to the creation of the Select Panel, as its Ranking Member, I will do all I can to ensure that as long at it continues, it will be as fair, transparent and objective as possible.
Republicans have made it clear from the first week of 2016 what their priorities are and whose side they are on. Women across the country are watching, they don't like what they see, and they won't forget.