Memo/Statement: Lindsey Graham and the race to the bottom on women’s health
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433
Lindsey Graham has thrown his hat into the ring of extreme candidates vying for the GOP nomination. After a very public debate detailing the “definitional problem of rape,” Lindsey Graham has proven himself to be a tireless opponent of women’s health.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Lindsey Graham has made a name for himself as being a steadfast opponent of reproductive health care. His agenda is out of touch with the majority of Americans and is part of the same race to the bottom on women’s health that we’ve seen in Congress this year, with Senator Graham and his allies already introducing 29 bills to restrict access to safe, legal abortion. What’s clear is that this agenda is out of touch with the majority of Americans, and Republicans, who want elected officials to expand women’s health care options, not limit them.
“Senator Graham doesn’t trust women to make their own health care decisions and women can’t trust him to be president.”
Lindsey Graham’s positions on women’s health:
- Lindsey Graham opposes safe, legal abortion. He co-sponsored a nationwide abortion ban in 2013 and supported the revived ban introduced on the very first day of the current congressional session.
- Graham wants to reward schools that teach ineffective abstinence-only programs, and he brags about being named the Abstinence Education Legislator of the Year by the National Abstinence Education Foundation.
- Graham is an opponent of Planned Parenthood and has voted to cut millions of women off from lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control, and other preventive care.
- Graham opposes the Affordable Care Act’s preventive benefit and no-copay birth control, which more than 55 million womenare now eligible for.
- Lindsey Graham supports letting bosses at for-profit companies interfere in women’s health care decisions and voted to blockthe Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act.
Impact on women in South Carolina:
- In 2012, 317,530 women in South Carolina were in need of publicly supported contraception; and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 822,354 women now have access without a copay.
- In the absence of the publicly supported family planning services provided at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood, the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned birth and abortion would be 48 percent higher in South Carolina, and the teen pregnancy rate would be 44 percent higher.
- In South Carolina, the publicly funded family planning services provided in 2010 at safety-net health centers, including Planned Parenthood, helped save $202,046,000 in public funds.
- With 50 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide, Planned Parenthood serves as an essential source of primary and preventive health care in South Carolina.
In Lindsey Graham’s own words:
- When discussing the House 20-week abortion ban, which would deny survivors of rape access to safe and legal abortion, Senator Lindsey Graham publicly told his colleagues: "I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape." [Bloomberg, 1/22/15]
- In opposition to the ACA’s birth control benefit, Senator Graham said, “When it comes to Obamacare, this type of overreach continues to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the American people.” [U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, 2/9/12]
- In support of an amendment he proposed to a defense authorization bill that would strip out a provision to allow individuals to pay for elective abortions in military medical facilities, Senator Graham said: “My amendment will help ensure military hospitals do not become abortion clinics.” [U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, 6/14/13]
- Lindsey Graham has said he was “honored” to introduce a federal 20-week ban in 2013, and that such legislation was “why I want to be a senator.” [The Washington Post, 11/7/13]
- In defense of legislation that he introduced to ban abortion nationwide after 20 weeks, Senator Graham said: “If you’re telling parents to sing to the baby because they understand your voice, really should we be aborting a child at the stage of the pregnancy? I don’t want anybody carrying the Republican banner that doesn’t get this. If you don’t get this, then you’re the extremist.” [CBN News, 9/16/14]
- Senator Lindsey Graham told the audience at a private, all-male fundraiser that: “If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency." [Huffington Post, 10/30/14]
About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.
If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].
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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.