UPDATE: Senator Michael Bennet joins the fracas. Press release after the jump.
Via the Colorado Independent:
DeGette’s remarks as delivered differed slightly from the prepared version sent out to members of the media and reprinted below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce the Inaugural Women’s Health Wednesday. Starting today, and continuing for every Wednesday, Members of this distinguished body will take to the floor to stand against the unceasing attacks on women’s health care levied by my colleagues across the aisle and the extreme right wing across the nation. [Pols emphasis]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to kick off this first Women’s Health Wednesday by reminding everyone this is 2012, not the Dark Ages. Let me say that again: This is 2012. Yet because of the actions of this Congress, and straight up to the positions of their candidates for president, we are actually debating birth control. Birth control. 99 percent of women have used birth control at some point in their lives, including 98 percent of Catholic women, and 1.5 million women rely on it for non-contraceptive purposes to treat a variety of medical conditions.
The Institute of Medicine has determined, based upon science, that birth control is a fundamental part of women’s preventive care. Yet, here we are debating birth control.
Mr. Speaker, everywhere I go women stop me to express their disbelief and outrage that we are actually debating birth control. Birth control saves lives, helps prevent unintended pregnancies, improves the outcomes for children, and reduces abortion. Those are all good things for women; for their families; for our nation. So why on earth would my colleagues across the aisle and their party launch a massive effort to limit access to birth control? This is 2012. We all know better.
Rep. Diana DeGette’s being kind with that last, since apparently, some of them do not.
Press release from Sen. Bennet’s office:
Bennet Statement in Opposition to Blunt Amendment Restricting Access to Contraception
Bennet: Women Don’t Need to Be Told by the Government How to Make Their Own Health Care Decisions
Washington, DC – On the floor of the United States Senate, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today voiced his opposition to an amendment, introduced by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, that would restrict access to contraception and other preventative health care for women. The Senate voted down this amendment 51-48.
“I have a wife and three daughters…, and one thing I know is they don’t need to be told by the government how to make their own health care decisions, nor do the 362,000 Colorado women who would be affected immediately if this amendment passed. This amendment is written so broadly that it would allow any employer to deny any health service to any American for virtually any reason, not just for religious objections.
“In my home state of Colorado, I have held hundreds of town hall meetings in red parts of the state and blue parts of the state…. They want to know why we aren’t spending our time working on how to create more jobs for them…, how to fix this nation’s debt and deficit or how we pass a bipartisan transportation bill that creates immediate jobs and fixes a crumbling infrastructure.
“[It's] another case where political games are risking our ability to provide more opportunity, not less, for the next generation of Americans. And instead over the last several weeks, we’ve continued to debate about women and whether they should have access to the health care services they need and whether they should be the ones that are able to make the decisions about the health care services they need. And we sit here and wonder why the United States Congress is stuck at an approval rating of 11 percent. Maybe it’s because we’re talking about contraception in the context of a transportation bill.”