Senate Democrats

Senate Democratic Women Call on Boehner to Abandon Pledge to Continue Contraception Fight

Senators to Boehner on International Women’s Day: “Women are tired of being targets for a political strategy that endangers their health care and they want it to stop.”

“It’s time for you to put an end to the attacks on women’s health care and to work with the Senate to get back to the American people’s top priority: creating jobs and boosting our economy.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, all 12 Democratic women Senators sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling on him to rescind his pledge to push forward with efforts to restrict women’s access to contraception after the Blunt amendment was defeated in the Senate. The Senator’s letter comes in the wake of Speaker Boehner’s public pledge to continue efforts to limit birth control access in the House, where a similar version of the Blunt amendment has over 200 co-sponsors. Speaker Boehner’s promise to continue fighting also comes despite a national outcry from women, the overwhelming majority of whom have used contraception at some point in their lifetime.

“We are asking that you abandon the promise you have made to bring legislation to the House floor similar to the Blunt amendment, which was defeated in the Senate last week, and which would turn the clock back on women’s access to health care,” the Senators wrote. “At a time when 99% of sexually active women in the U.S. have used birth control, its role in the lives of women and their families is hard to understate…. That is why the recent Republican attacks on birth control access have been so eye-opening for American women. For most American women, the battle over contraception was settled a half century ago.”

The letter was sent by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The full text of the Senator’s letter follows (PDF here):

Speaker Boehner,

We write to express our concerns over your recent statements pledging to continue efforts to put employers between American women and their access to birth control. Specifically, we are asking that you abandon the promise you have made to bring legislation to the House floor similar to the Blunt amendment, which was defeated in the Senate last week, and which would turn the clock back on women’s access to health care. Furthermore, we ask that you listen to the overwhelming outcry from American women who support access to contraception and drop all politically-charged efforts to deny them coverage.

Today, at a time when 99% of sexually active women in the U.S. have used birth control, its role in the lives of women and their families is hard to understate. Access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, and is linked to overall good health outcomes. Nationwide, 1.5 million women use contraceptives only as treatment for serious medical conditions. And most importantly, access to birth control helps reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, a goal we all share.

That is why the recent Republican attacks on birth control access have been so eye-opening for American women. For most American women, the battle over contraception was settled a half century ago. Yet, over the course of the past month alone, women have watched as panels on birth control have been convened without women, a young woman that dared to speak out in defense of birth control was subjected to vile name-calling, and extreme legislation, like the Blunt amendment, has been pushed to deny access.

Women have had enough. As we have heard from countless women in our home states and here on Capitol Hill, they are tired of being targets for a political strategy that endangers their health care and they want it to stop. We hope that you can answer their calls, and ours. It’s time for you to put an end to the attacks on women’s health care and to work with the Senate to get back to the American people’s top priority: creating jobs and boosting our economy.

As you may know, today is International Women’s Day, a day celebrated each year to mark the political, social, and economic progress women have made. We ask that on this day you join with us in working to ensure that we build on the progress of the past, not reverse it.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

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