Just when you think congressional attacks on women’s health and rights can’t get any worse, they do. While the Senate was whipping up a second, scarier version of Trumpcare, the House was writing an even more extreme piece of legislation.
The funding bill introduced by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS), which sets aside funding for the government to use, would be devastating to women.
Long story short: This bill would prevent millions of people from coming to Planned Parenthood for basic health care, eliminate the nation’s only dedicated family planning program, and end sex education nationwide by cutting the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.
And it only gets worse. Here are five devastating things this budget proposes to do:
1. Single out women, men, and young people who access basic care at Planned Parenthood
This bill would prevent Planned Parenthood from participating in ANY government-funded health care programs. This includes countless programs that provide support for women, including:
HIV prevention grants
Violence Against Women Act grants to prevent sexual assault
Successful sex education programs
Maternal and child health programs
STD and infertility prevention grants
And many other important health care programs
2. End the Title X family planning program
Title X is the only federal program solely dedicated to birth control. It’s designed to make sure people who may not otherwise have options — those with low incomes or those who don’t have health insurance — have access to basic reproductive health care. Ending the program goes even further than Trumpcare and would be a devastating blow. Four million people depend on Title X for birth control and other preventive care like cancer screenings and STI testing and treatment.
What’s more: ending Title X would take the biggest toll on folks with low incomes and people of color — the very people this program is meant to serve and protect.
3. Fund abstinence-only education programs
We’ve made a lot of progress in helping teens stay healthy. More young people are delaying sexual activity and using birth control when they do have sex.
But the appropriations bill would reverse this. It proposes to eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative — but includes funding for abstinence-only programs. Abstinence-only programs put young folks’ health at risk and are not based in medically accurate information.
This means that the proposed future of sex ed would look something like this:
4. Allow employers, insurance companies, and hospitals to discriminate against women seeking reproductive health care
Do you want your boss or insurance company deciding whether you can access abortion for you? Even if you have your own private health insurance?
This bill would allow them to place harmful limitations on access to safe, legal abortion — even if it’s medically necessary to save a woman’s life or health.
This is especially concerning since access to safe, legal abortions is already restricted, due to the harmful Hyde Amendment. For over 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has discriminated against women with low incomes and women of color by prohibiting Medicaid from covering abortion.
It’s time for us to fight like hell for reproductive rights. Here’s how you can be louder than ever so that politicians finally start listening to us and protect women’s health:
1. Call Your Senator
Let's keep lawmakers’ phones ringing off the hook. Tell them to reject all attacks on women’s health. Letters, petitions, and emails are important, but we know calls have the largest impact and grab lawmakers’ attention.
2. Tag Your Senators on Social Media
Your senators need to know you oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act and blocking patients from care at Planned Parenthood.
3. Be a PP Defender
Defenders are a core group of supporters who give their time to defend Planned Parenthood, the health services they provide, and the people who rely on them — in what just may be the fight of our lives.