Extreme politicians, led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary-Nominee Tom Price, want to shut down Planned Parenthood. One of their key tactics is to push legislation misleadingly named “defunding” Planned Parenthood — a cruel ploy that would punish women and hit people with low incomes, people living in rural communities, and people of color the hardest.
Why are Planned Parenthood health centers so important? Because Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider. Its health centers provide supportive reproductive health care to 2.5 million people in a year. An estimated one in five women has relied on Planned Parenthood health centers for care in her lifetime. That’s why a majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood, and why so many people are saying #IStandWithPP.
If Congress shuts down Planned Parenthood health centers, 2.5 million people a year would lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and more.
Here is everything you need to know about these attacks on Planned Parenthood patients in Congress, and the devastation they would wreak on women’s health care.
Main Line of Attack on Access to Care at Planned Parenthood
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood really means blocking patients who depend on public health care programs (like Medicaid and Title X) from getting their care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Approximately 60% of Planned Parenthood patients rely on these programs to access care, and most of those patients use Medicaid.
Anti-abortion politicians like Mike Pence target Planned Parenthood health centers because they provide abortion. But it’s already federal law that patients cannot use federal funding, like Medicaid, for abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is at risk). Instead, “defund” legislation prevents patients who are already struggling to get by — or who already face barriers to accessing health care — from getting essential, preventive care like birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman exams, STD tests and treatment, and other care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
Bottom line: “Defunding” Planned Parenthood is part of a larger agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers and make it impossible to access safe, legal abortion in America.
History of Attacks Against Planned Parenthood
For years, backward politicians in Congress and statehouses across the country have attacked Planned Parenthood’s patients’ access to care — sometimes basing them on doctored videos, failed entrapments, and false accusations.
The Impact of “Defunding” Attacks
If politicians in Congress succeed in “defunding” Planned Parenthood and in shutting down Planned Parenthood health centers, they would cause a national health disaster. Millions of Planned Parenthood patients would lose access to the preventive care they’ve relied on — care like cancer screenings; birth control; and STD testing and treatment, including HIV tests.
Who would shutting down Planned Parenthood health centers hurt the most? It’s people of color, people living in rural areas, and people with low incomes. They represent the majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients, and they already face unfair systemic barriers to accessing health care. If these patients are blocked from care at Planned Parenthood, many would have nowhere else to go. In fact, 21% of counties have no safety-net family planning alternative should their local Planned Parenthood health center close, and more than half of Planned Parenthood’s health centers are located in rural and underserved communities.
What Americans Think About Planned Parenthood
The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose blocking access care at Planned Parenthood — 15 nationwide polls say so. Even 48% of Donald Trump’s supporters don’t want to see Planned Parenthood “defunded.” It's no wonder that, in the weeks following the election, Planned Parenthood affiliates were flooded with new volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of individuals donated to Planned Parenthood to make sure access to health care is protected.
So, how do Americans feel now? They’re scared that with politicians like Mike Pence and Tom Price in power, it could mean disaster for their health care access. Case in point: Since the election, Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a surge in online appointments for birth control, with a nearly 10-fold increase in people seeking IUDs the week after the election.
Learn More & Take Action
Planned Parenthood has stood defiantly in the face of opposition for a century, and we are not backing down now. Extreme politicians may try to shut down Planned Parenthood health centers, but we will fight to keep their doors open so they can continue to provide expert, affordable health care to the millions of people who rely on them each year.
Planned Parenthood’s passionate supporters are planning events around the country, calling their elected officials, and educating their friends about the vital care Planned Parenthood provides. Want to get involved?