Rep. Diane Black to Cecile Richards: ‘Abortion Is Not Health Care’

‘It is not considered to be a healthcare’

BLACK: “Ms. Richards, on September the 18th of this year, you stated that H.R. 3134 the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 would and I quote, ‘block access for folks who deserve high quality, compassionate care’. Ms. Richards, I would like an opportunity for you as asked these questions -- to give you an opportunity to change these false claims. So, I wrote the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, so let me tell you what it does do. It does not – it does not reduce public health funding by a single dime and it would, in fact, increase that funding for community health centers by $235 million. Were you aware of these facts when you made that statement?”

RICHARDS: “Congresswoman, we’ve discussed many times today that in fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that if women were denied the ability to go to Planned Parenthood 390 –“ [Crosstalk]

BLACK: “Reclaiming my time, you said it would ‘block access’, it ‘would block access’.”

RICHARDS: “For our patients it would block.”

BLACK: “Yes or no, Ms. Richards, do you acknowledge that community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by roughly 20 to 1.”

RICHARDS: “I don’t know the exact number. I know there’s more community health centers than there are Planned Parenthood.”

BLACK: “So you will acknowledge that they outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics?”

RICHARDS: “I’m happy to acknowledge that.”

BLACK: “Okay. And, yes or no, Ms. Richards, do you acknowledge that these facilities funded under my bill actually provide a broader – these facilities actually provide a broader range of services than what is offered at Planned Parenthood – for instance, mammograms?”

RICHARDS: “I’m not an expert on what all community health centers provide. I know we work in close collaboration with them and, in fact, often they send us their patients that they can’t see for birth control.”

BLACK: “But you will acknowledge that you do not provide mammograms, which was acknowledged in this committee today?”

RICHARDS: “We’ve never made any –“

BLACK: “So that would say that they [community health centers] do actually provide more extensive services than what you provide there at Planned Parenthood?”

RICHARDS: “I don’t know. What I said to you, though, is I don’t know what all the community health centers provide. We’re very clear about what we do provide at Planned Parenthood and about the number of women who voluntarily choose to come to us because of our care.“

BLACK: “Reclaiming my time again because I have just very short period of time. So knowing that the House-passed bill actually increases public health funding and redirects those federal dollars to clinics that offer more preventive health care than Planned Parenthood, you can’t substantiate your claim that the bill blocks access to care. It does not block access to care.”

RICHARDS: “I think we disagree.”

BLACK: “Now, I do want to just end this by saying that you had a statement that you made that quality, affordable healthcare is your ‘entire mission’. And you made that statement, I actually wrote it down when you made it. Why would you not make an executive decision then to temporarily discontinue your abortion services, which only represents – by your testimony – three percent of the services you provide, and continue providing what you consider to be your ‘entire mission’ of 97 percent of the services provided?”

RICHARDS: “Because abortion is a legal service in America – And we think that’s important that woman -- You quoted me as saying ‘quality, affordable healthcare’ and that includes access to quality and affordable abortion services as well.”

BLACK: “But you acknowledge that -- Do you say abortion is healthcare? Do you consider that --”

RICHARDS: “Yes. It’s a healthcare service for women. In fact, three in ten women in this country have accessed an abortion at some point.”

BLACK: “So you define abortion as healthcare?”

RICHARDS: “It absolutely is part of women’s healthcare, and women will tell -- I think women would agree.”

BLACK: “I’m a nurse and if you look at medicine, abortion is not healthcare. It is not considered to be healthcare. Now, let me --” [Crosstalk]

RICHARDS: “We just simply agree to disagree on this matter.”

BLACK: “Let's look at the definition. Let me finish up here because you have continued to say that these videos were doctored. Are you aware of a report that just came out today that has been released by Coalfire that shows in their report and they say, the forensic analysis removes any doubt that the full-length undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress are authentic and have not been manipulated. Analysis scrutinized every second of the video recorded during the investigation and released it to a date and found only bathroom breaks or other non-pertinent footage had been removed. I would say if you were to compare the two companies now that have done this investigation, you see Coalfire has reported on every second of the released audio and video investigation footage, as opposed to the Fusion report which only had four full length videos. So, I think this discussion, Mr. Chairman, is still yet to be had about just what these videos do show.”

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