Years ago, while still a pre-med major in college, I worked as a lab technician at Planned Parenthood in Lancaster, PA. I saw first-hand the quality medical care women received, including annual exams, screenings and regular check-ups. Without Planned Parenthood these young women would not have known about an early cancer developing. They would not have gotten valuable information about sexually transmitted diseases and how to protect their bodies. They would not have learned about reproductive choices or received important counseling when considering critical life choices. 

Our nation's earlier history is littered with the dreadful tales of unwanted pregnancies, backroom brutal abortions and women with no access to reproductive information or access to various types and methods of birth control.

With Planned Parenthood, women have access to such information and support.

Nonetheless, today, the U.S. Senate voted, by a thin margin, to let states deny federal family planning money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. 

According to the Associated Press, the legislative vote was headed toward failure when all Democrats and two Republicans voted "no," tying the vote. But in a last ditch effort to pull the tied tally of votes out of trouble, Vice President Mike Pence and and a senator still recovering from back surgery and walking with a walker hurried to the Capitol to cast the tie-breaking "yes" votes.  And now the measure is waiting for the president's signature, which he is expected to sign.

Still, New York women may get a reprieve.  In a late Thursday evening press release Governor Andrew Cuomo said the U.S. Senate turned its back on the health and safety of women, keeping them from the "health services they are entitled to by law." 

"With this repugnant vote, the Vice President and the U.S. Senate rolled back the progress we’ve achieved to safeguard women’s health and protect the rights of all New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "New York will not let the federal government’s backward mentality stand in the way of women receiving the critical health services they are entitled to by law. New York will continue to be a champion for women and ensure that their rights are protected from ignorant and reckless decisions in Washington."

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a features writer at The Post-Star. She can be reached at kphalen-tomaselli@poststar.com for comments or story ideas. 

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