LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Over the weekend, businessman and Democratic challenger to incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th Congressional District seat, Harley Rouda, published an Op-Ed on Medium.com taking on extremists in Washington who back defunding Planned Parenthood. Rouda, a longtime supporter and donor to Planned Parenthood, penned the piece, titled, “As Rohrabacher fights to revoke women’s healthcare, it’s time we fight to revoke his seat.” To read the Op-Ed click on the link below:
As Rohrabacher fights to revoke women’s healthcare, it’s time we fight to revoke his seat The extremists alt-right movement made history this past week, but not the good kind. For the first time since Dick Cheney held office, the Vice President was called upon to push through legislation that failed to garner majority support in the Senate. Their dangerous motivation: gut and defund Planned Parenthood — the most trusted health provider for women, throughout America, since 1916. Fanatic right-wingers tout this as a victory for their “pro-life” movement. But in reality — either they have chosen to ignore the facts, or they really are waging a callous war on our nation’s women.
Because despite claims to the contrary, abortion-related procedures comprise a mere 3% of Planned Parenthood services. So if extremists really want to reduce abortions, as they claim, defunding Planned Parenthood makes no sense. Not only does Planned Parenthood refuse to accept any federal dollars for abortion services which has been the case since 1976, Planned Parenthood’s proactive care and education programs actually prevent over 500,000 unintended pregnancies annually — leading to an estimated fewer 200,000 abortions each year.
Given that funding for abortion services is separate, these proposed appropriation cuts (that will likely lead to an increase in abortions) exclusively decimate the remaining 97% of Planned Parenthood operations that consist of basic medical assistance for almost 3 million Americans. That’s flat out coldhearted and just plain wrong to increase unplanned pregnancies. Republicans are essentially closing life-saving medical facilities by targeting women, particularly low-income women and their families. B
ased on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s analysis, within one year of defunding Planned Parenthood, 650,000 women will face reduced access to health care, and 390,000 women will lose all access. As our country looks for ways to increase affordable medical services, we should be looking for ways to empower and expand Planned Parenthood’s footprint — not annihilate it. In fact, the organization ought to serve as a beacon when it comes to cutting waste and improving efficiencies in a massive healthcare bureaucracy. Serving as one of the most effective organizations within our health care infrastructure, their reimbursement model prevents fraud and reduces waste throughout all 50 states.
Most importantly, Planned Parenthood fills a void left by the shortcomings of our fragmented industry, directing 79% of their efforts towards patients at or below 150% of the poverty line. While some of our representatives in Congress deny the benefits of Planned Parenthood, they also ignore the fact that for many Americans, Planned Parenthood acts as a supplement for primary care.
Over 50% of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in areas with medical facility shortages, and almost all branches operate with extended hours, prioritizing access to care for underserved communities. I have long supported and donated to Planned Parenthood, along with over 10 million people worldwide, because they offer a vital service to millions of women who desperately need it. Our government, charged with promoting the common welfare, should take steps to strengthen programs that benefit the general public.
In fact, in many cases, Planned Parenthood addresses a healthcare market failure better than Congress can. The same CBO report estimated a net increase of $130 million to taxpayers if the government cuts off Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, fringe, alt-right extremists in Washington like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who claim the “only purpose for Planned Parenthood is abortion,” must stop ignoring the truth as they hold irresponsible hearings using taxpayer dollars.
The basis for these Congressional investigations into potential Planned Parenthood malfeasance: doctored videos that concoct an ungrounded narrative of evil. Not only were their claims of illegal activity debunked, the creators of the videos have since been charged with felony counts. Yet right-wing radicals trudge onward, stripping our vulnerable populations of vital services while perpetuating anti-abortion rhetoric. We cannot afford to let these entrenched extremists in Washington sacrifice Planned Parenthood as a pawn in their game of political chess.
We need members of Congress ready to stand up for women, and thus Planned Parenthood, by advocating for the equal protection under the law for all Americans. An attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on the American values I will defend in Congress. While Rep. Rohrabacher fights a productive health care service, it’s time we make him fight to keep his seat.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of several recent campaign updates, all of which reflect Rouda’s increasing momentum, including:
- Scoring over 50 grassroots endorsements, along with the backing of regional Democratic Party heavyweights like past Orange County Democratic Party Chair Frank Barbaro and former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
- Releasing his first video ad, titled, Clean House, which garnered national attention in the Washington Post.
- Raising over $200,000 before the March 31, 2017 deadline, as reported by POLITICO.
- Raising the campaign’s first $100,000 in only 12 days since entering the CA-48 contest, as reported by Roll Call.
- Unveiling his initial agenda items for what he plans to address in Washington.
- Publishing an Op-Ed titled, “Time to finally ensure that healthcare coverage is a right for every American” on Medium.com.