Women's Health Face-Off: Congressman Allen West vs. Patrick Murphy (Florida)
We’re now just 11 days away from Election Day, and it’s time for the seventh installment of our new series, “The Face-Off.” Voters will be faced with a choice when they head to the polls, and that’s why we’re working to make sure they know where the candidates stand on women’s health issues.
This week’s face-off brings us to the 18th District of Florida, where Congressman Allen West who once said Planned Parenthood women were “neutering” American men, faces off against women’s health champion Patrick Murphy.
Here’s what you need to know about the two candidates:
Congressman Allen West
First elected to Congress in 2010, Allen West didn’t waste any time before trying to restrict women’s access to health care. Teaming up with the likes of Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Mike Pence, West voted to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and deny millions of women and families access to lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, and birth control. But West is known less for his voting record than his hot temper and off-the-wall rhetoric.
After Debbie Wasserman Schultz criticized him on the House floor, West fired off a venomous attack calling her “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the House of Representatives” and “not a Lady.”
During a town hall this past spring, West joked about the “Let Women Die” Act — a bill that would allow hospitals to turn away a woman seeking an abortion, even if it is necessary to save her life (and further giving them license to refuse to refer her to another hospital that could save her life). This isn’t what many would call a laughing matter but it is for West. He called out to his wife, saying, “Did you know that I voted to let you die?” He also jokingly mentioned his vote to “redefine rape.”
West’s support of extreme and dangerous measures like H.R. 3, a bill that would redefine rape to exclude a number of individuals from receiving coverage for abortion, and the “Let Women Die Act,” along with his outlandish rhetoric, has earned him a zero percent women’s health record from Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Learning about West’s comments and the policies he supports is enough to make you want to vote for practically anyone else — but lucky for the people of Florida’s 18th, they don’t have just anyone running against West, they have Patrick Murphy.
Murphy is “100% pro-choice, and believe[s] that government should not interfere in the reproductive decisions between a woman and her doctor.” He will protect access to Planned Parenthood, and fight to ensure health care plans don’t charge women more simply because they are women.
He’s a stark contrast compared to his out of touch opponent, fully supporting a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion and believing politicians should not intervene in the personal, private decisions, best left up to a woman, her faith, and her family.
Murphy has even called West out on his outrageous comments, going on television with a new ad that highlights West’s statements about “all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…”
He’s not afraid to stand up for women’s rights, and he’s certainly not afraid to stand up to Congressman West.
If you’re looking for someone who will go the distance to protect access to affordable health care, Patrick Murphy is your man. He understands that women’s health issues are family issues, and that politicians have no place in the exam room. In contrast Congressman West has done everything he can to restrict access to care, co-sponsoring extreme and dangerous bills like the “Let Women Die Act” and H.R. 3, which would have redefined rape. And to top it off, Congressman West appears to have a problem with strong women. The difference between Allen West and Patrick Murphy couldn’t be starker — and the women of Florida 18th have an advocate for women’s health and rights.