Dems vow fight over ObamaCare benefits for women

Dems vow fight over ObamaCare benefits for women
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats are warning GOP leaders they've got a fight on their hands if they try to roll back women's healthcare benefits under ObamaCare. 

Democrats have little power in the minority to prevent Republicans from repealing President Obama's signature healthcare reform law, including a host of provisions guaranteeing prenatal and contraception coverage for women. 

But the lawmakers, joined by reproductive rights activists, say the Republicans' repeal effort has "awakened a sleeping giant," in the words of NARAL Pro-Choice President Ilyse Hogue. 

"We are not going back; we will stand our ground," Pelosi said during a rally in the Capitol. "And you know what? The American people are with us. We just have to get out the word."

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Abortion rights activists piled on, accusing President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos claims he was pressured to sign plea deal Tlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' MORE and other GOP leaders of hypocrisy for vowing to help middle-class Americans economically while simultaneously pushing to eliminate women's benefits under ObamaCare.

"You have no mandate to take away our healthcare," said Hogue, appearing on a stage alongside Pelosi. "You say that you want to help the American people economically, [but] taking away women's contraception is going to cost women collectively over $1 billion a year." 

"The party that puts abortion services out of reach of most American women now wants to take away contraception, prenatal care and maternal healthcare," she added. "That is hypocrisy."  

The comments came just hours after Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down MORE (R-Wis.) announced that Republicans will include a provision to defund Planned Parenthood as part of their "reconciliation" budget bill — a procedural move that allows Republicans to repeal much of Obama's healthcare law without fear of a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said the Republicans' efforts would deny basic healthcare for millions of women for whom the group is the only medical provider. 

"They don't come to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement. They come because they need high-quality, affordable care," she said. 

"So when career politicians like Speaker Ryan pledge to defund Planned Parenthood, he is basically pledging to deny women access to basic healthcare across this country."

Richards said that, post-election, Planned Parenthood clinics saw a 900 percent spike in appointments for IUDs "that would last the four years of the Trump administration."  

Pelosi, a longtime champion of women's reproductive healthcare rights, said it's little surprise the Republicans are targeting Planned Parenthood in the new Congress. But acknowledging the Democrats' inability to block legislation, she implored women of both parties to push back against the repeal effort.  

"This is a priority for the Republicans, so I would just like to speak individually to the women across America," Pelosi said. "This is about … respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs … and the timing of your family and the rest, not to be determined by the insurance company or the Republican ideological right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives."