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Statement by Trevor Thomas on Anti-Women Votes by Steve Pestka

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 27, 2012
press@TrevorForCongress.com

Statement by Trevor Thomas on Anti-Women Votes by Steve Pestka

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH - Democratic Congressional candidate Trevor Thomas (MI-3) released a statement today in response to revelations that former State Rep. Steve Pestka voted to cut critical services to women, including a vote that resulted in the state defunding programs at Planned Parenthood centers across Michigan. Mr. Pestka, who is running on his State House record, continues to cite his record in public remarks as a key reason to be elected to the 3rd Congressional District seat.

"I believe every woman should have access to healthcare services, particularly those who are hurting most in these difficult economic times. This is not a political issue, it's personal and strikes at the heart of who we are as a community. As the son of a breast cancer survivor, I can't imagine my mother being denied services that could save her life. Mr. Pestka's vote to defund these critical programs and services was wrong then, just as the continuing attacks against women are wrong today. In Congress, I will fight to make sure the folks who need healthcare the most are not cut off from it, either by the budget or extreme ideology," said Trevor Thomas, congressional candidate for Michigan's 3rd District.

For Background: The Huffington Post piece by West Michigan resident Anna Bennett: http://huff.to/JHJ0cu

BACKGROUND

In December of 2001, then-State Rep. Steve Pestka voted to defund healthcare clinics - including Planned Parenthood of Michigan - from providing critical services to 50,000 men and women. Major organizations, like the ACLU, spoke out against Pestka's vote against women.

In the State House record, Democratic members against the measure spoke directly to the GOP caucus and Mr. Pestka on the floor, making clear the bill would stop "access to vital health care services, such as cervical and breast cancer screening, testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing and counseling and community education."

In the end, Pestka voted with 53 Republicans to cut the critical funding -- even endangering counties who contracted with local clinics to provide care for area residents. 34 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted to stand up for women, no matter how bad the opposition. See the roll call here: http://www.michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=20381&Print=true

STATE HOUSE RECORD EXCERPT:

Reps. Anderson, Zelenko and Murphy, having reserved the right to explain their protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

"Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

I voted 'no' on House Bill 4655 (H-1) because it would have a devastating impact on the availability of family planning services to the women and men in Michigan. Planned Parenthood, the only organization that would be affected by this legislation, serves more than 50,000 men in Michigan every year. With this legislation Michigan will lose the additional Title X funds that Planned Parenthood secured by offering services to women and men above and beyond their contracted amount. This bill will restrict access to vital health care services, such as cervical and breast cancer screening, testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing and counseling and community education. Supporters believe that this bill will prevent state and federal dollars from supporting abortion activities. However, it is already against federal and state law to use any family planning funds for abortion or to engage in advocating for abortion. This bill serves to de-fund Planned Parenthood, the operator of 31 family planning clinics in Michigan. In fact, two local health departments have contracted with Planned Parenthood to provide the county's family planning programs because the State could not sustain the program. Without Planned Parenthood, many counties will not have qualified providers to run family planning programs, increasing unplanned pregnancies."

LINK TO THE ENTIRE STATE HOUSE RECORD:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ypf0lliewcikmcyuu2lzq355))/documents/2001-2002/Journal/House/htm/2001-HJ-12-13-088.htm

LINK TO THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD SCORECARD:

http://miplannedparenthood.org/House01-02rollcall.pdf

BARACK OBAMA DEFENDS PLANNED PARENTHOOD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naP2FbO8_-c&feature=player_embedded

 

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