As Senate Republicans scheme behind closed doors to bring Trumpcare to a vote by the end of June, women across the country are ensuring their opposition is felt on Friday by occupying the offices of elected officials and demanding they vote no on any attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"In no uncertain terms, a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a declaration of war on women," said Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer at UltraViolet, the principal organizer of the sit-ins (visit UltraViolet's website for more information about the day of action).
The American Health Care Act will quite literally cost hundreds of thousands of women their lives, by eliminating guaranteed coverage of life-saving cervical and breast cancer screenings, abolishing comprehensive maternity care and domestic violence screenings, 'defunding' Planned Parenthood, and limiting women’s access to birth control and emergency contraception.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with the Republican plan isn't a solution, it's an assault on women and the beginnings of a serious national healthcare crisis.
Protesters will "occupy the offices of Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Dean Heller, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Tom Cotton, and Senator Cory Gardner" to "argue that the Republican healthcare plan would be catastrophic for Americans—kicking more than 23 million people off of their health insurance, making it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage, and undermining the health of women across the country," UltraViolet said in a statement.
Democrats have recently ramped up their criticism of the GOP for attempting to pass such momentous and potentially devastating legislation without revealing any of their plans to the public. Resistance groups, for their part, are demanding that Democrats go a step further and withhold consent, a move that would considerably slow the legislative process.
If the Senate's version of Trumpcare resembles the one passed by the House last month, it could pose a significant threat to women's health.
Last month, the New York Times editorial board compiled a list identifying the numerous ways in which Trumpcare would be "disastrous for women."
The bill, the Times noted:
- "Endangers abortion coverage"
- "Slashes Medicaid," "a crucial source of coverage for many women's health services"
- "Strips funding from Planned Parenthood"
- "Puts essential services" including birth control, mammograms, and maternity care "at risk"
- "Eliminates preexisting condition protections"
As Vox's Jeff Stein reported earlier this week, UltraViolet is one of many groups urgently organizing in an effort to prevent a measure including any of the above from becoming law.
"Planned Parenthood expects to hold at least 100 rallies, protests, and phone banking events over health care over the next two weeks," Stein noted. Groups like Indivisible, CREDO, and MoveOn.org are launching similar campaigns.
“Across the country, it'll be hundreds of people," Nita Chaudhary, UltraViolet’s co-founder, told Vox, describing the planned sit-ins. "They are going to occupy those Senate offices until they get answers."