The bill to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood health centers is part of an extreme agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood completely and, ultimately, outlaw abortion.
On March 6, Republicans in Congress introduced the biggest threat to Planned Parenthood patients in the health provider’s 100-year history. Tucked into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill is a dangerous provision motivated by anti-abortion ideology that has no direct connection with the ACA or abortion. Instead, the provision is about blocking low-income people from preventive health care.
Specifically, the “defund” provision would block Medicaid patients from Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide. Longstanding, unfair federal law already prohibits taxpayer money from going to abortion services, and Medicaid doesn’t cover abortion. So this provision would just keep more than half of Planned Parenthood's patients from getting affordable preventive care like birth control, STD tests and treatment, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and well-woman exams at a Planned Parenthood health center — often the only care option in their area.
Big Picture: The Anti-Abortion Agenda
This attack on access to care at Planned Parenthood is part of an extreme agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood completely. The move would take away care from people who have a harder time accessing it in the first place; undercut the nation’s health care safety net; and, ultimately, cause a national health care disaster.
Why shut down Planned Parenthood with so much at stake? The bill’s backers are playing politics with women’s health, all to serve their larger scheme of banning safe, legal abortion.
Every year, 2.5 million women, men, and young people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services. Proposals to “defund” Planned Parenthood will result in people losing access to health care, as numerous studies consistently show. Experts have repeatedly said that there are not enough providers to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
Access to Planned Parenthood health centers means healthier families, more choices, and fewer unintended pregnancies. The anti-abortion politicians trying to block access to Planned Parenthood are condemning millions of Americans to untreated STDs, undiagnosed cancer, and limited access to birth control.
“What the GOP’s plan would do is prevent Medicaid from working with Planned Parenthood.
This would effectively block patients who rely on federally subsidized health care ― about 60 percent of Planned Parenthood’s 2.5 million patients ― from choosing Planned Parenthood for their health care. And by rendering the family planning provider unable to serve more than half its patients, the bill would likely force some of its clinics to shut down.”
An attack on Planned Parenthood is also an attack on communities that already face systemic barriers to accessing health care. That includes immigrant communities, people of color, LGBTQ folks and people with low incomes — many of whom count on Planned Parenthood for care they simply can’t get anywhere else.
About the Bill
In addition to blocking Medicaid patients from care at Planned Parenthood, the bill:
Tries to end private insurance coverage for abortion by banning financial assistance to purchase a plan that covers abortion;
Prevents states from expanding Medicaid expansion and implements an enrollment freeze, both of which will drastically lower Medicaid coverage;
Slashes funding for Medicaid, which low-income women and people of color disproportionately rely on for health care; and
Undermines the Essential Health Benefit Protection, which requires most plans to cover maternity, newborn care and other basic health care.
“Low-income women will be hit especially hard, but all Planned Parenthood patients may be affected if clinics are forced to close as a result of budget cuts.
But the bill would actually go further. It threatens to dismantle the entire private insurance market for abortion coverage... If a woman wants a health insurance plan that will cover abortion, she (and possibly her employer) won’t be able to use tax credits to buy it under this bill. And if this bill passes, there’s no guarantee that women will have any good options for private insurance coverage of abortion.”
Anti-Planned Parenthood Politicians Know Their Attack Is Extremely Unpopular
Republicans who are pushing to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood are drastically out of touch with the American public. An independent poll shows 70% of American voters oppose “defunding” – including 50% of Trump voters. The American public overwhelmingly supports Planned Parenthood, and 19 nationwide polls prove it. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that one in five U.S. women have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.
As the Washington Post Editorial Board wrote, “the White House understands it’s between a rock and a hard place.” GOP leaders are trying to satisfy their ultra-conservative constituents by blocking patients from care at Planned Parenthood, but most Americans oppose such reckless policies.
No doubt, Planned Parenthood opponents on Capitol Hill know their attacks on basic health care are deeply unpopular:
GOP representatives have hidden from voters, and kept this repeal bill under lock and key until the last moment.
Several House Republicans said they're concerned it is spurring opposition among their constituents, fellow lawmakers, or both.
The New York Times reports that the Trump White House is worried about the political fallout, and that worry spurred President Trump to try and get Planned Parenthood to stop providing abortion services.
Now, anti-Planned Parenthood politicians are trying to force their outrageous attack on Planned Parenthood through Congress as fast as they can. Why push so hard and fast? It’s obvious they don’t want to give Planned Parenthood supporters a chance to resist their extreme agenda. But resist, we will.
Today, key House committees will hold the first hearings on the bill to repeal the ACA and cut Planned Parenthood patients off from care. If the bill passes the House, there’s a process to reconcile the bill with the federal budget. And if 50 senators pass the ACA repeal through the budget reconciliation process, it goes to President Trump’s desk. To understand how much support it would have in the Senate, keep in mind that there are 52 Republican senators, including two who said they oppose linking the ACA repeal to Planned Parenthood “defunding.”
This bill is still a long way from becoming law — and we can shut it down if we all take action in a massive show of power, starting right now.
Join the Resistance
No matter how many times you’ve spoken out before, we need your voice now. We’re going to flood members of Congress with a petition demanding they stop the bill that would cut millions of patients off from care at Planned Parenthood health centers and gut the ACA.