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Murray: GOP Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood a ‘Dangerous Obsession’

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and other Senate Democratic leaders meet with reporters on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) labeled Republican efforts to stop providing Planned Parenthood by withholding federal funding a “dangerous obsession.”

The organization currently receives about $521 million in federal funds each year.

“President Trump and congressional Republicans are really rushing to roll back all of the progress we have made over the past several years. They are pushing forward with a reckless repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which you all know will rip apart our healthcare system and take coverage away from millions of families,” Murray said during a recent telephone town hall meeting held by The United State of Women.

“They are doubling down on their dangerous obsession of defunding Planned Parenthood. They are jamming through a cabinet full of Wall Street bankers and billionaires and corporate CEOs and a Supreme Court nominee who could seek to overturn Roe v. Wade,” she added.

“So, needless to say, these efforts would be devastating for all of our working families but in particular to women’s health and rights and economic security. So I have sent a very clear message to President Trump and Republicans: not on my watch and not without a fight. I’m going to be fighting back tooth and nail along with Sen. [Kirsten] Gillibrand and Congresswoman [Pramila] Jayapal and [Planned Parenthood president] Cecile Richards on all of that, but we can’t do it alone,” she added.

The stated mission of The United State of Women is to serve as the “megaphone for the gender equality movement.”

Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, called the Women’s March that took place in major cities across the country the day after President Trump’s inauguration “inspiring.”

Sen. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said witnessing the march was the “most inspiring moment of my life.”

“You need to know you cannot stop now. As a working mom, I know how important access to healthcare, paid family leave and affordable childcare are for all of our families,” she said. “Unfortunately, too many members of Congress don’t understand the urgency of the issue and what that means to all of us. It’s really important they hear directly from you about how repealing the Affordable Care Act would hurt you personally.”

Gillibrand said activists should call their representatives’ offices to tell personal stories about their experience with the Affordable Care Act and the cost of childcare. She suggested activists use social media to make their demands known.

“Share your story, really tell people what your life is like, what you want, why, use social media, use every platform you can, use traditional media, use letters to the editor. Make a phone call. Do a tweet – whatever way you feel comfortable. Be heard on what you care about and tell them a real story so they can begin to empathize with where you are coming from,” she said.

Rep. Jayapal (D-Wash.) said protests and other efforts primarily led by women have contributed to protecting the Affordable Care Act. She praised Obamacare for helping refugees and immigrants acquire healthcare coverage. Jayapal also encouraged progressives to call on their representatives in Congress to oppose Republican attempts to “repeal and run” from Obamacare.

“Legal permanent residents who have lived in the United States for five or more years will be able to enroll in healthcare programs and qualify for Medicaid because of the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “Refugees and asylum seekers can apply for coverage on Medicaid and undocumented immigrants with some form of identification card issued by a foreign consulate can apply for private healthcare.”

According to Health and Human Services, “refugees who are admitted to the United States meet the immigration status eligibility requirements for immediate access to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”