Letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi - Reps. Pressley, Escobar, Lee, & Schakowsky lead More Than 150 Colleagues in Rejecting Attacks on Essential Reproductive Healthcare During COVID-19 Pandemic

Letter

By: John Kennedy, Gwen Moore, Ron Kind, Mark Pocan, Denny Heck, Adam Smith, Kim Schrier, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Donald McEachin, Bobby Scott, Lloyd Doggett II, Marc Veasey, Colin Allred, Eddie Johnson, Sylvia Garcia, Veronica Escobar, Al Green, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., Susan Wild, Madeleine Dean, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Paul Tonko, Sean Maloney, Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, José Serrano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Max Rose, Jerry Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Susie Lee, Dina Titus, Ben Lujan, Jr., Deb Haaland, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Don Payne, Jr., Albio Sires, Joshua Gottheimer, Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas, Alma Adams, David Price, Bennie Thompson, Emanuel Cleaver II, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum, Dean Phillips, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Rashida Tlaib, Debbie Dingell, Andy Levin, Dan Kildee, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Seth Moulton, Katherine Clark, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Cedric Richmond, John Yarmuth, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Lauren Underwood, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Sean Casten, Mike Quigley, Chuy Garcia, Robin Kelly, Dave Loebsack, Ed Case, David Scott, Lucy McBath, Hank Johnson, Jr., Donna Shalala, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Sr., Kathy Castor, Darren Soto, Al Lawson, Jr., Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Susan Davis, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Alan Lowenthal, Katie Porter, Nanette Barragán, Maxine Waters, Mark Takano, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Gil Cisneros, Linda Sánchez, Norma Torres, Jimmy Gomez, Ted Lieu, Grace Napolitano, Brad Sherman, Tony Cárdenas, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo, Ro Khanna, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Josh Harder, Ami Bera, Doris Matsui, Jared Huffman, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ayanna Pressley
Date: May 7, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

We write to express our incredible frustration as the Trump Administration, Congressional Republicans and anti-abortion state politicians continue to use this unprecedented public health crisis to restrict comprehensive reproductive health services. As proud members of the first pro-choice majority in the House of Representatives, we unequivocally oppose efforts to roll back access to reproductive health services, including abortion, and underscore the role that these essential services continue to play in this global pandemic. While we are grateful for your leadership and work standing against attempts to further restrict abortion access in COVID-19 relief packages, it is critical that we continue to fight to ensure that any future relief packages reject Republican efforts to diminish access to comprehensive reproductive health care. We must ensure that all communities are able to seek the essential and time-sensitive services they need during these difficult times.

History tells us that whenever anti-abortion politicians are able to maliciously insert harmful restrictions on comprehensive reproductive health care like abortion care, they undermine access to essential care and stigmatize those in need of abortion services. We know that these restrictions disproportionately impact people with low incomes, Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander and Native individuals, LGBTQ+ individuals, immigrants and individuals with disabilities and those living at the intersections of those identities. Nobody should be denied reproductive health care simply because of who they are, where they live, their economic status, or source of insurance.

Despite the unprecedented crisis before our nation, Senate Republicans insisted on expanding the reach of the Hyde amendment in the CARES Act in an effort to punish and shame pregnant people seeking abortion care. These efforts exacerbate increased challenges for our communities as multiple states have attempted to deny access to essential, time-sensitive abortion services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the same states that have been trying for decades to end abortion have now tried to exploit a crisis in an attempt to violate our constitutional rights, including Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma. Banning abortion during the pandemic leads to increased costs for travel, navigating various state restrictions, and increased waiting time. These bans are designed to punish and shame people seeking abortion care and can prevent people getting care altogether.

These attacks are devastating enough in a vacuum, but instead come on the heels of three years of sustained and relentless attacks by this administration on domestic and global providers of reproductive and sexual health care and the patients they serve. From decimating the essential Title X network, to discriminating against providers and organizations because they provide or advocate for abortion care, to gutting insurance coverage of abortion - these attacks have meant that it is always the person who needs the care that suffers. Family planning, sexual health services, and abortion are time-sensitive, essential health care. To take a global pandemic as an opportunity to make it even harder for families with low incomes to access the care they need is disgraceful.

As Congress continues to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we must reject any further provisions that harm access to abortion care, restrict abortion coverage, or contribute to clinics shutting their doors. These restrictions on abortion access will only further exacerbate the impact this pandemic is already placing on our most vulnerable communities. We must reject any and all efforts to undermine comprehensive reproductive health care access.

We appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,


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