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Sen. Richard Blumenthal

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GOP Dials Back the Clock on Progress for Women

Posted: 02/04/11 02:10 PM ET

As families across Connecticut struggle to find work and make ends meet, it is both disappointing and alarming to see some lawmakers returning to the culture wars of the past and trying to restrict access to health care for women across this country.

The bills introduced by Representatives Mike Pence and Christopher Smith take an unprecedented step of blocking women's access to the reproductive health care they need and have a right to -- and I will strongly oppose them. These bills seek to overturn years of long-standing legal doctrine and, even worse, they endanger the health of women in this country by attempting to end insurance coverage -- including private coverage -- for all abortions. We cannot allow women's health to be jeopardized by limiting the options that they and their doctors have when it comes to their reproductive health care.

While I and many of my colleagues have focused our energy on fostering economic growth and creating jobs, some members of Congress have made it a top priority to move legislation that would take away the choices women have about their health care. It has long been my belief that in matters of women's health, there are no better people to decide what is best than a woman and her doctor. These efforts to eliminate choices for women and put private decisions in the hands of politicians must be rejected.

The bills introduced by Representatives Pence and Smith are likely to pass in the House, but I can promise that I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to block such legislation in the Senate and protect the rights of women in Connecticut and across the country.

It is troubling to see these lawmakers who champion limited government in every other circumstance become the champions of government overreach when it comes to a woman's choice over her medical options and her providers of basic reproductive health care. This misguided effort to defund the trusted health care providers on whom women rely would leave millions without access to basic preventive health care, including cancer screenings, breast exams, and family planning.

Women in Connecticut and across the country deserve nothing less than unfettered access to their trusted health care providers and vital health care services.

As Connecticut's Attorney General, I have always been a steadfast supporter of a woman's right to choose and to have access to quality, affordable reproductive health care, and I will continue to do so in the United States Senate. Just this week, Senator Gillibrand and I sent a letter to our colleagues urging them to stop these dangerous bills. On Tuesday, there will be hearings in the House on this legislation, but by acting swiftly we can combat these reckless proposals aimed at curbing the rights of women everywhere.