DeLauro urges singular focus in protecting women’s health measures

NEW HAVEN — U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, told Planned Parenthood supporters Friday to take a cue from the Florida high school students who have organized a national movement to push out opponents of gun control in the mid-term elections.

A total of 17 people were killed and another 17 wounded in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. by a lone gunman.

“They are singularly focused,” she said, drawing a parallel to what is necessary to fight an anti-choice Supreme Court nominee, as well as the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X and a proposed gag rule that does not allow any discussion of where abortions are offered.

“I say to my colleagues, ‘we either follow their lead (the students) or get out of their way’,” DeLauro said as she addressed a large group at the headquarters of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England on what she described as a coordinated assault by the Trump administration on health services for women.

“The attacks on women’s health, family planning and abortion rights are coming from all three branches of government,” she said.

Title X, approved in 1970 by Republican President Richard Nixon, is the only federal funding for family planning services. It supports 4,000 clinics serving 4 million women across the country, including 45,000 women in Connecticut, DeLauro said.

She said six out of 10 women who seek services at these clinics consider it their main source of medical care.

The congresswoman said the gag rule would push Americans toward abstinence-only programs, which have been funded with $30 million, while the administration has eliminated the teen pregnancy prevention programs.

“Where do you go?” DeLauro asked if funds for health care and prevention are eliminated.

“It is diabolical,” she said. “The totality of the assault has got to be understood.”

DeLauro said some have advised her to let it all happen so the consequences are clear to people.

“I cannot do that. There are lives at stake,” DeLauro said.

“We need to know the depths of the problem. But I don’t come either as Pollyanna or that we are in a death spiral and we can’t get out of it. Otherwise, why would I sit in this body (Congress) and fight every day. Just go home, go on vacation? No. We take it on, take on this fight,” she said to the delight of the crowd.

The congresswoman said the new justice will cast the vote on over turning Roe v. Wade. “We know that,” DeLauro said.

“This has to be raised to a decibel level that is deafening,” she said. “It is no longer it might happen. It will happen.”

The congresswoman said there may be discussion about how qualified a candidate is on paper.

“But one has to think about a lifetime appointment. My Republican colleagues talk about activist judges. One has to think about philosophy, views, prior written statements on the direction they will take the court,” she said.

As for the Affordable Care Act, the administration wants to eliminate the guarantee that insurers cannot refuse coverage for persons with pre-existing conditions.

“I’m going to continue this fight on all of the fronts,” the congresswoman pledged.

DeLauro said the Democrats will push for each piece to come up for a vote and make the positions of the opposition known through discussion of amendments.

DeLauro said people thought Roe v. Wade would never be rescinded.

“It gives you such sense of how fragile Democracy is when you attack it in such a vicious way ... We are fighting for the soul of this country and for democracy, small d, in this nation, in the next several months,”DeLauro said.

She said everyone in the nation should be aware and ultimately go the polls informed of the stakes, particularly young women, who along with minorities did not turn ou to vote in the numbers they have in recent years.