Earlier this week, Twitter revealed that #resist is the most tweeted hashtag of 2017 much to the surprise of zero American women.
But guess what? The Minnesotans have spent 2017 fighting back.
In coalition with other Planned Parenthood affiliates and partner organizations across the country, Planned Parenthood patients and supporters have resisted every federal attack on our access to the full range of reproductive health care, including access to safe and legal abortion.
On the state level, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, with the steadfast support of Governor Mark Dayton (D), have resisted the politically motivated agendas of anti-women’s health politicians in the Minnesota House and Senate. Without a Governor committed to ensuring women’s most basic health and rights, the ability of 67,000 Minnesotans to access lifesaving, preventative care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have been on the chopping block.
Federal “Defunding” Planned Parenthood
2017 brought four failed attempts to repeal Obamacare and “defund” Planned Parenthood. The defeat defunding was a major victory for women – and Planned Parenthood and women’s health advocates led the way. Excluding Planned Parenthood from Medicaid reimbursements would cause a national health crisis, with millions losing care they rely on like cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment. In Minnesota, 38% of Planned Parenthood patients—nearly 24,000 people each year—use Medicaid to access health care at Planned Parenthood.
Federal 20-Week Ban
In October 2017, the House of Representatives passed a bill to ban abortion procedures after 20 weeks. Minnesota Representatives Jason Lewis (R), Erik Paulson (R), and Tom Emmer (R) all voted in favor of this dangerous and out-of-touch legislation. “Though the bill’s prospects are uncertain in the more evenly divided Senate, we in Minnesota need to fight in 2018 to unseat officials who believe they have the right to tell Minnesotans what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
Birth Control Benefit
In October 2017, the Trump administration announced a rule that would undermine the requirement that all insurance plans must cover no-copay birth control — a provision that's already benefited 62.4 million women. The rule allows employers and campuses to impose their personal beliefs on employees and students by denying them access to birth control as part of the health coverage they earn. Planned Parenthood is calling on state lawmakers to bring forward legislation that would preserve the birth control protections in the ACA for Minnesotans.
Sabotage of the Affordable Care Act
Congress’ attacks on Obamacare have failed time and time again — but in October 2017, Trump signed an executive order to undermine the health care that millions of Americans rely on. Experts agree that the plan will result in lower quality health care plans, additional costs to taxpayers, and weaker consumer protections. On the same day, the Trump administration announced that it would stop payments intended to help lower-income enrollees reduce their out-of-pocket costs for things like copayments and coinsurance.
On the state level, 2017 has brought no shortage of attacks on women’s access to the full range of reproductive health care, including access to lifesaving, preventative care at Planned Parenthood health centers and access to safe and legal abortion.
- State Defund: In 2017, Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation that would have jeopardized access to lifesaving health care for 48,000 Planned Parenthood patients who receive their health care at 17 Title X supported clinics. This legislation would have been especially damaging for the 22,000 patients who rely directly on Title X funding for their care each year. ‘Defund’ attacks in Minnesota are not only morally wrong, but politically unpopular. Statewide polls in 2016 showed that 69 percent of Minnesotans want to see funding for the family planning and contraceptive services Planned Parenthood provides stay the same or increase. The ‘defund’ legislation was introduced but never received a vote.
- State Family Planning Cuts: Legislation passed both bodies of the legislature to cut family planning funding in Minnesota by more than $2 million, a quarter of the appropriation, disproportionately harming low-income and vulnerable communities. Cutting family planning funds would leave thousands of women and their families without care - and it would inevitably increase poor health outcomes for low income women and their families and exacerbate the already stark health disparities plaguing our state. The legislation was taken out of an omnibus spending package upon Gov Dayton’s insistence
- TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) Bill: In 2017, the Minnesota legislature passed a clinic shut-down law eerily similar to the one in Texas that left hundreds of thousands of women without access to basic health care or abortion. This is the similar to the law that the Supreme Court of the United States declared unconstitutional last summer for creating medically-unnecessary burdens to accessing safe and legal abortion. These proposed regulations would have left thousands without care. The legislation was vetoed by Governor Dayton.
- Medicaid Ban: In 2017, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill that would block the state from reimbursing health care providers for abortion procedures performed on women who have Medicaid as their insurance. . In 1995 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if Medicaid covers other pregnancy related care, it has to cover abortion too. A woman facing an unintended pregnancy should not have to make the decision about whether or not to end her pregnancy based on finances or insurance status—it should be based on what is best for her health and her family’s circumstances. The legislation was vetoed by Governor Dayton.
- To top things off, Glenn Gruenhagen (R) of the Minnesota House mansplained abortion to us ‘ladies’:
So we called him out...
And he somehow managed to make a women’s person health care decisions all about MEN...
But from a gross situation, Rep. Mike Freiberg exemplified that the resistance shouldn’t just fall on the backs of women. Shout-out to Rep. Freiberg for being a fierce advocate for women’s health and rights and holding his colleague’s sexism accountable.
With continuous attacks on women’s health and rights coming from the federal level, having a brick wall in the governor’s office to resist these attacks and block any anti-women state legislation is essential. Without the Governor's veto, all the resources that allow Minnesota women to lead healthy lives on their own terms would be on the chopping block.
2018 will be the year the resistance is truly put to the test. With the gubernatorial election, two U.S. Senate seats and more up for vote in November, the Minnesota resistance has a lot to prove. But we’ve made it through 2017, and we won’t stop fighting until all Minnesotans have access to the full range of reproductive health care - no matter what.