Womenâ€™s Health Face-Off: Heller vs. Berkley (Nevada)
Less than a week away from Election Day, and it’s time for the eighth installment of our “The Face-Off” series. 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 pivotal women’s health issues.
This week’s face-off brings us to Nevada, where Senator Dean Heller faces off against women’s health champion, Shelley Berkley.
Here’s what you need to know about the two candidates:
Over the last thirteen years, Berkley has stood up for Planned Parenthood and Nevada women — representing the first district. When Indiana Congressman Mike Pence pushed for an amendment that would have barred Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds and jeopardized access to essential and lifesaving care that millions of women rely on each year, Berkley said ‘no’.
She took to the House Floor and spoke out, saying “Rep. Pence's amendment has one goal — to undermine women's access to basic, preventive health care and the women's health providers they rely on in their communities. I oppose this amendment and efforts to deprive women access to essential healthcare services.”
But she didn’t just vote to preserve affordable access to health care, she voted to expand it, by helping to pass the Affordable Care Act. The greatest achievement for women’s health in decades, the Affordable Care Act has already provided more than 45 million women with access to preventive care with no co-pay.
When opponents of women’s health voted to repeal the new health care law, Berkley spoke out again, saying “I rise in strong opposition to this legislative stunt to repeal health care reform... Let’s fix what needs fixing and let’s not repeal this lifesaving, life-enhancing legislation."
In stark contrast to Shelley Berkley, Dean Heller voted to defund Planned Parenthood (on more than one occasion). With these votes to eliminate access to preventive care and funding for family planning Heller has proved — time and time again — that he would rather play politics with women’s access to affordable health care than allow Planned Parenthood to continue providing services.
Heller also voted to restrict family planning funding abroad by voting to protect the global gag rule. This extreme and dangerous rule restricts federal money from going to any international organization that even refers women to places where they could obtain a safe and legal abortion.
And to top it all off, Heller voted for the Blunt amendment, which he claimed would “in no way” limit access to contraception for women. Despite the fact that the Blunt amendment would allow employers to cherry-pick what could and couldn’t be covered under one’s health insurance plan, including birth control, Heller refused to acknowledge that the issue WOULD restrict women’s access to health care and birth control.
Time and again, Berkley has stood by the women of Nevada, protecting their access to affordable health care. In stark contrast to Heller, Berkley understands that women’s health issues are economic issues, which is why she voted for the Affordable Care Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, while her opponent opposed both measures. In the Nevada Senate race there is only one true champion of women’s health, and that champion is Shelley Berkley.