Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) has a radical voting record on women’s health care, and constituents recently rallied at his Palmdale office to bring attention to the issue.
The rally featured participants from Planned Parenthood Action League-Antelope Valley, Antelope Valley Clinic Defenders, Antelope Valley Democrats, Indivisible Antelope Valley and SoCal Healthcare Coalition. Speakers talked about their positive experiences with health care providers like Planned Parenthood. A video of the rally is available at the SoCal Healthcare Coalition Facebook page.
“As a teenager, I was scared and didn’t know what to do or how to handle the situation,” said Salena Coleman, a Lancaster resident who was 13 when she became pregnant. “However, I sought prenatal care at my local Planned Parenthood and found a caring and compassionate group of professionals who supported me through my pregnancy and helped me welcome a healthy girl into the world.”
Knight has voted repeatedly to defund health care providers like Planned Parenthood. Knight voted for a bill that called for cutting patients off from care at Planned Parenthood, a position overwhelming opposed by voters — Democrats and Republicans.
Knight’s opposition to Planned Parenthood stems from his extreme anti-abortion views.
“I am a pro-life candidate,” Knight said in 2015. “I make no exception.” He would even deny women access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life was in danger. That puts him far outside the mainstream, where 79 percent of Americans believe abortion should legal in some or all circumstances.
Knight has a zero percent rating, based on his congressional voting record, from women’s health groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Knight’s opponent, Katie Hill, has been endorsed by both those groups.
“I think most people don’t understand that Planned Parenthood provides an array of primary and preventative health care services,” said Sara Mitchell, a Planned Parenthood organizer. “In 2015, our organization cared for 2.4 million patients and performed more than 320,000 breast exams, nearly 295,000 Pap tests, and provided birth control to nearly 2 million women.”
Yet Knight wants to defund one of the largest providers of health care for women in the country.
“These clinics are essential to making quality medical care available to low-income women,” said Wade Alexander with AV Clinic Defenders, an Antelope Valley organization that raises money for groups like Planned Parenthood. “And we need politicians in office who are going to protect those services.”
“We don’t trust Steve Knight to do that,” Alexander added.
The rally was held a few days before Women’s Equality Day (Aug. 26), which commemorates the Nineteenth Amendment giving some women the right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 enshrined the right of all women, no matter their race, to vote.
Election experts note that suburban women are unhappy with Trump, and that disdain could impact Republican incumbents. One Republican strategist says Republican-leaning and independent women want someone with “the backbone to stand up to the president when needed.”
Knight voted for Trump in 2016, and he has voted to support the Trump agenda 99 percent of the time.
Full disclosure: The author’s spouse works at a nonprofit organization focused on women’s reproductive health issues; however, that organization was not involved with the rally discussed in this article.