HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) --Local supporters and patients of Planned Parenthood took to the streets of Downtown Hanford Friday, calling on Congressman David Valadao to protect women's healthcare and reproductive rights by voting no on the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare; a bill they said threatened to block low-income women's access to essential Planned Parenthood services in the Central Valley.
"The GOP keeps stating that these funds are provided for abortion, which is not the case, and we know that because it is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment. Instead, it would cut off low-income patients access to cancer screenings, birth control, HIV-AIDS testing, and treatment," said Pedro Elias, Planned Parenthood.
Since the Kings County Women's Clinic closed three years ago, Elias said many women must now drive outside of the Congressman's district for their healthcare needs. He said Planned Parenthood's health centers and satellite clinics now serve more than 11,000 men and women in Valadao's 21st Congressional District; though not all of his constituents stand with Planned Parenthood.
"I believe that women should have the right to have an ability for feminine health. But in the same sense, Planned Parenthood- they stand for more than just that, they stand for abortion," said Lee Wisecarver, Hanford.
Fresno's Erika Shaughnessy is a Planned Parenthood patient who was there to defend it, she said, because their services are affordable.
"I feel that women should stand together, at least as a community, if we can't make decisions in congress or the house."
Following the decision to pull the Republican Healthcare Bill, the Congressman issued a statement that read in part, "In the coming weeks, I believe Congress must come together to enact legislation to stabilize our health care market, reduce federal spending, and ensure we are able to maintain access to health care for America's most vulnerable populations."
Whatever happens in Washington, the effort to protect Planned Parenthood continues.