I got an e-mail today from Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) with an editorial she wrote today about women's health care, especially about opposing the targeting of Planned Parenthood in an amendment proposed to healthcare reform legislation.
She begins by calling attention to the amendment, and goes on to describe Planned Parenthood's place in Arizona health care.
For over 90 years, Planned Parenthood has been a trusted preventive health care provider to over three million women, men, and teens a year. To deny funding to Planned Parenthood is, quite simply, to deny essential life saving health care for millions of Americans who have nowhere else to turn.
In my home state of Arizona, more than 57,000 women receive health care through the Title X family planning programs – this is the funding that would be cut off by proposed amendment. Planned Parenthood health centers across the state serve over half of these women with Title X funding – more than any other women’s health care provider in the state.
Then she writes about the work Planned Parenthood does nationally.
Beyond Arizona, Planned Parenthood has more than 850 health centers in 49 states. Last year alone they provided birth control to 2.3 million people, breast exams to 850,000 women and more than one million cervical cancer screenings. More than 90 percent of the care they provide is preventive. One out of every three women, 1.7 million, who receives Title X family planning health care does so at a Planned Parenthood health center and could potentially lose access to their trusted provider if this amendment is adopted.
There is more, largely about the use of women's health centers as primary care centers for many women, and how cutting its funding would leave many women, especially in poorly served areas, without access to basic healthcare services.
This is a strong statement of support for Planned Parenthood and for women in general. Giffords' district is a moderate one, including much of Tucson and the area between Tucson and the border. It includes two military bases. There is a large evangelical segment. Jim Kolbe held the seat for 20 years as a moderate Republican, though he generally voted with the party. Giffords won the seat in 2006 when Kolbe retired. The Republican party targeted her in 2008, and she is also at risk in 2010.
Giffords got voted into the Blue Dogs last year. I have a hard time understanding why. She is very good on women's and environmental issues, supports scientific research (her husband is an astronaut), and voted for the stimulus bill and other key Obama initiatives. Her position on healthcare resembles John Kerry's 2004 version, but I think she will support a reasonable bill, especially if the CBO rates it well. I write to her frequently about healthcare.
She is worth watching and protecting in this moderate district.