In Stamford, Murphy and Blumenthal urge Planned Parenthood supporters to stay vigilant

Stamford Advocate

STAMFORD — As a critical deadline to keep the federal government open approaches, Connecticut’s two U.S. senators told a local crowd of Planned Parenthood supporters Thursday that funding for the organization is in jeopardy.

U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Mayor David Martin at the agency’s health center in Stamford to urge the public to remain vigilant because, Murphy said, “a lot of members of Congress” want to de-fund Planned Parenthood as part of a proposed spending plan.

“(They) are considering voting to strip health care away from millions and millions and millions of Americans,” which is particularly hurtful to women, Murphy said.

Congress has to pass a spending bill by April 28 to avoid a government shutdown.

The round-table discussion comes on the same day as President Donald Trump signed into law a bill allowing states to withhold Title X funding from health care providers that perform abortion services, including Planned Parenthood.

Title X is a federal grant program that solely provides family planning services and related preventive health care, but cannot be used to cover abortions.

The two lawmakers also expressed concern Thursday with the recent confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Blumenthal said Gorsuch refused to say whether he believed Roe v. Wade was rightfully decided.

“He is going to be a really regressive force in the Supreme Court,” Blumenthal said. “We have a fight ahead of us.”

Murphy said Gorsuch has taken “some extraordinary steps” to weigh in on cases connected to reproductive health care.

“I’m very nervous about what his voice on the court will mean for these issues,” Murphy said.

“From a legislative standpoint,” he added, “ we’re going to have be even more vigilant.”

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England has 17 Connecticut facilities, including in Stamford, Bridgeport and Danbury. It provides care 62,000 Connecticut residents, according to the agency.

Besides cancer screening and reproductive health care, the Stamford affiliate is the only one performing on-site surgical abortions. Last year, the branch served about 4,000 patients, more than half of whom earn below the federal poverty level, according to the agency.