September 21, 2015

CONTACT: Travis Smith (907) 258-3077

Senate leadership is charting a path to avoid a shutdown, but it will be difficult for Sen. Murkowski to navigate.

ANCHORAGE: Earlier this summer, Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Murkowski’s explanation and follow up didn’t sit well with Alaska women.

After the vote, APRN reported that, “Murkowski’s Planned Parenthood Vote Has Left Seething, Right Unmoved.” Several Alaska women opined in their local papers about Murkowski’s vote, one in Anchorage and the other in Juneau. In late August, Planned Parenthood and their supporters marched to Sen. Murkowski’s Anchorage office and hand delivered a letters speaking out against her vote.

The fight over Planned Parenthood is not over. The women’s health organization has long been target by right-wing politicians, and Tea Party darling Ted Cruz is leading the latest charge. Sen. Cruz and members of the House are insisting on shutting down the federal government over the funding of Planned Parenthood.

According to Politico, a possible pathway is being laid by the Senate to avoid a government shutdown, however, it will still likely include a vote on Planned Parenthood funding. There will be two votes, one without Planned Parenthood funding, and one with funding.

The question for Alaska women is can Murkowski stand up to hyper rightwing, anti-women interests during this election cycle?  

The Planned Parenthood vote won’t be the only test of Murkowski’s stance on women health issues. Along with the budget vote, the Senate leadership has also fast tracked a bill that would put in place a 20-week ban on abortions, according to The Hill.

The Anti-Choice group, Susan B Anthony List, has targeted Sen. Murkowski and run television ads asking her to support the ban on abortions. Sen. Murkowski was questioned about the upcoming vote back in August. According to the Washington Examiner, a spokesperson refused to answer the question and pivoted to President Obama’s then upcoming visit to Alaska. Murkowski was also silent preceding her vote to defund Planned Parenthood vote.

“Sen. Murkowski has some soul searching to do,” said Kay Brown Executive Director of the Alaska Democratic Party. “Alaska women shouldn’t be left in the dark, Murkowski needs to make it known where she stands on these issues.”