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Sens. Blumenthal, Shaheen, Bennet, Reps DeGette and Slaughter, Introduce Resolutions Condemning Violence Against Women’s Health Providers and Patients

Attack at Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood and recent increase in violent attacks and threats against women’s health care centers follow growing use of extreme rhetoric demonizing women’s health

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) announced resolutions they have introduced in the Senate and House, respectively, to condemn violence against women’s health providers and patients across the United States following the horrific attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three dead and nine wounded. A total of 38 Senators and 94 Representatives co-sponsored the resolutions.

The resolutions recognize that violence, intimidation, and threats against women’s health care providers and their patients has persisted for decades, with an increase in incidents of arson, vandalism, and threats over the past six months, further recognizing the serious impact that demonizing, extreme rhetoric has on creating a climate that is dangerous for those who would provide or seek access to comprehensive health care services. The members reiterated a woman’s constitutional right to make her own health care decisions and have access to health care services without fear of violence or harassment.‎ 

“This measure recognizes the deeply insidious, perpetual threats and violence against providers of life-saving health care services to millions of women across the country,” said Senator Blumenthal. “I am proud to lead this resolution with my colleagues to condemn unacceptable intimidation and attacks that interfere with a woman’s right to safe health care. This resolution stands against the recent extremist, repugnant rhetoric that seeks to demonize the providers and their essential services to American women.”

“The violence directed at health care providers and women seeking reproductive health care services is deplorable,” said Senator Shaheen. “Nobody should have to live in fear for either providing or receiving reproductive healthcare that’s protected under the Constitution. This resolution is an opportunity for Congress to stand united against this senseless violence and incendiary rhetoric.”

“No one should ever have to fear for their life when they walk into a clinic to receive health care,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “Last month in Colorado Springs, we lost three people because of one man’s deranged actions. A brave police officer and two loyal individuals accompanying friends to doctor’s visits – all young parents in their prime– were killed. Planned Parenthood offers critical care to tens of thousands of women in Colorado every year. People should know they will be safe, whether they are accessing preventative care, cancer screenings, or their constitutionally protected right to reproductive services at Planned Parenthood or any health care facility.”

“No one should have to face intimidation or violence when going to the doctor, but for too many women, threats and attacks have been a reality simply because they have sought reproductive health care,” said Rep. DeGette. “This is simply unacceptable, and I am joining colleagues in both the House and Senate to say that such threats and attacks must stop. The recent attack in Colorado Springs and other incidents across the country underscore the urgency we all feel that this violence must stop right away.”

“No American should feel intimidated or threatened because of where they choose to access health care,” said Rep. Slaughter. “The violence directed toward patients and doctors at a health clinic in Colorado Springs is unconscionable, as are the hateful rhetoric and lies that have been hurled against Planned Parenthood by those who seek to do away with Americans’ right to choose. These despicable acts are an attack on the one-in-five women who have received basic health care from Planned Parenthood and we won’t stop fighting to defend the right of all Americans to make their own health care decisions.”

Co-sponsoring Senate Resolution 327 with Blumenthal, Shaheen and Bennet are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Timothy Kaine (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Md.), Angus King (I-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).‎

Co-sponsoring the House Resolution with DeGette and Slaughter are Representatives Alma Adams (D-N.C.), Brad Ashford (D-Neb.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Michael Honda (D-Calif.), Hared Huffman (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), William Keating (D-Mass.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-District of Columbia), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Price (D-N.C.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Mark Takai (D-Hawaii), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-Fla.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

Full text of S.Res.327 follows:

Resolution Condemning Violence Targeting Women’s Health

Condemning violence against women’s health care providers and patients accessing such health care

Whereas, the constitutional right to make health care decisions about their own bodies has been an established right for over 43 years;

Whereas Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972) confirmed the constitutional right of all women to legally access birth control; 

Whereas Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was decided 42 years ago and reaffirmed that women have a constitutional right to comprehensive reproductive health care;

Whereas for decades, women’s health care providers and people accessing the services they provide have been subjected to intimidation, threats, and violence;

Whereas since 1993, there have been eleven murders and numerous attempted murders of individuals associated with care provided at women’s health centers;

Whereas nearly 7,000 violent acts have been reported against providers  at women’s health centers since 1977, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults, as well as more than 190,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls; 

Whereas, within the past six months, there have been an increase in arsons, vandalisms and threats at Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers, including in Aurora, Illinois; Pullman; Washington; Louisville, Kentucky; and Claremont, New Hampshire; and on November 27, 2015, three people were killed and nine people were injured when a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs, Colorado; 

Whereas, demonizing, extreme rhetoric contributes to a climate that is dangerous for those who would provide or access comprehensive health care services;

Whereas more than 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients are people of color, who are therefore disproportionately impacted by attacks on women’s health centers; and

Whereas one in five women will use Planned Parenthood for health care, which in 2013, provided over 1.4 million emergency contraception kits, nearly 4.5 million tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infection and nearly 900.000 cervical cancer screenings and breast exams and continues to be the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and, along with many other reproductive health providers, continues to provide expert, quality reproductive health care in safe and supportive environments across the country.

Be it resolved, that the United States Senate:

1. Denounces the attacks on women’s health care centers, providers, and patients;

2. Affirms that all women have the right to access reproductive health care services without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment.