Early this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that in addition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, Congress is also working towards defunding Planned Parenthood. While no definitive steps have been shared, it is assumed that this will happen by blocking clinics that provide abortion in addition to general women’s health from receiving federal funds. (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/does-defunding-planned-parenthood-really-threaten-womens-health-80584/) (https://black.house.gov/issue/defunding-planned-parenthood) This will have a hugely negative effect on millions of Americans.
For many people, when they hear the words ‘Planned Parenthood’ they automatically think government-funded abortion clinic. Planned Parenthood clinics are not just abortion clinics. Only about 3% of all services are abortions and half of Planned Parenthood’s partners don’t perform abortions. Not only that, but Title X (federal grant program dedicated to family planning and preventative health) states that funds may not be used for abortion and Medicaid only allows funds to be used for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. So what does Planned Parenthood do? Great question. (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/15/509662288/that-vow-to-defund-planned-parenthood-easy-to-say-hard-to-do)
Planned Parenthood services include:
- education on birth control
- easy access to almost all types of birth control
- anemia testing
- cholesterol screening
- diabetes screening
- physical exams (including for employment and sports)
- flu vaccines
- help with quitting smoking
- high blood pressure screening
- tetanus vaccines
- thyroid screening
- checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
- colon, prostate, and testicular cancer screenings
- condoms, vasectomy erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation services
- general health care and routine physical exams
- jock itch exam and treatment
- male infertility screening and referral
- STD testing and treatment
- urinary tract infections testing and treatment
- HIV testing
- Pap Tests
- HPV Vaccinations
- Breast Exams/ Breast Care
- Colposcopy Procedure
- Female sterilization
- Pregnancy tests
- Prenatal care
I could go on, but we’d be here for quite a while. (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/)
The funding of Planned Parenthood isn’t a specific item in any budget. The funding comes in the form of reimbursements from public health programs (Medicaid and Title X).
It goes something like this:
So really what’s going on is that the organization will still be able to operate, but the vast majority of its patient base that rely on Title X and Medicaid won’t be able to afford care anymore.
So big deal, can’t they just go to a different health provider?
Planned Parenthood currently provides around 2 million people with birth control, 4 million with STD/STI treatments and test and thousands of other with other services. There’s just not enough providers to pick up all that slack. Two thirds of states already struggle ensuring enough providers for Medicaid, especially ob-gyn, as it is. For those who are in rural communities (the majority of patients) they may not even have access to another provider. Talk about undue burden, am I right? Overall, around 2.5 million people would lose access to health care if defunding goes through, the majority of which are people of color, low-income, or in rural communities. A study in Texas showed that after the state stopped reimbursing Planned Parenthood and instituted cuts on women’s health, the number of pregnancy related deaths almost doubled. Imagine if that same thing happened to the entire country. Its terrifying. Already there is an increase in appointments and IUD implants as people are rushing to get what help they can before it isn’t an option anymore.
All in all, the defunding of Planned Parenthood is a terrifying possibility. Millions of people would lose access to invaluable and often life saving medical care.
So what do we do about it?
Go to: https://www.istandwithpp.org/take-action to sign a petition and get more information
Contact your Senator
522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
702 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Join Planned Parenthood’s lists to continue getting updates, opportunities, and information.
And above all, use your voice! Get involved in your community. Educate yourself and others. Together we can stand with those in need.
Every good wish,