Following months of Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood, one GOP congressman is speaking out against his party’s push to defund the women’s health organization.
“Do you really want women not to have access to health care?” Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) asked rhetorically Monday during an appearance on the Keeler in the Morning radio show. “And do you believe in a woman’s right to have domain over her own body, or the government’s?”
Hanna’s remarks came during a discussion about his political future in the Republican Party and the possibility he would face a primary challenge in 2016. Rather than toe the party line on Planned Parenthood, though, Hanna stuck up for what he argued was the group’s mission: “Educating and providing contraception and inexpensive women’s health care.”
If Republicans were able to successfully outlaw abortion, it would have dire consequences, Hanna warned. “Do you really want it to go to back rooms?”
Listen to it (relevant segment begins at 3:45):
Back in September, Hanna was just one of three House Republicans who voted against the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, dismissing the legislation as “pandering” and “political theater.” In 2014, he was the sole GOP congressman to vote against a bill that prohibited federal subsidies from being used for health insurance plans under Obamacare that covered abortion care. “Individuals should be free to make that very difficult and personal decision without heavy-handed government involvement,” said in explaining his vote.
Hanna’s recent Planned Parenthood defense comes on the heels of unrelenting Republican attacks on the women’s health organization. GOPers have called Planned Parenthood “worse than ISIS”, drawn a connection between Planned Parenthood and “Nazi Germany”, and suggested deploying federal troops to stop women from getting abortions. Not all the attacks have been verbal. This fall alone, Planned Parenthood clinics in California and Washington have been set on fire by arsonists, and a clinic in Colorado Springs was the scene of a grisly mass shooting that left three dead at the hands of a shooter who said he was “a warrior for the babies.”
During his five years in Congress, Hanna has developed a reputation as a lonely voice speaking out against his party’s excesses. In 2012, as other Republicans like former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) suggested that an aide of Hillary Clinton was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hanna criticized the GOP for catering “to our extremes” and said that in doing so “We render ourselves incapable of governing.” More recently, Hanna admitted this fall that the congressional Benghazi Committee was actually “designed to go after” Hillary Clinton, despite some Republicans’ insistence otherwise.
Hanna has long defended women’s health from other GOPers. In 2012, Hanna’s support for abortion rights earned him the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Barry Goldwater Award, which honors Republican lawmakers who stand up for reproductive health issues.