The Star Tribune has reported that Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson would “defund” Planned Parenthood in Minnesota if elected. Johnson would deny thousands of patients access to Planned Parenthood by cutting off public funding that many patients rely on for birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. Most people support Planned Parenthood’s expert reproductive health care services and Johnson’s position is an affront to the one in five Minnesotans who rely on Planned Parenthood’s services at some point in their lives.
With 18 clinics statewide, most of which are in Greater Minnesota, Planned Parenthood is critical to the state’s public health infrastructure. Many Planned Parenthood patients rely on publicly-funded programs like Medicaid and Title X for crucial health care services, including birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. If Planned Parenthood is “defunded” from Title X, the nation’s largest family planning program, 53,000 Minnesotans could lose this essential health care. If Planned Parenthood is excluded from Medicaid, more than 25,000 low-income patients would not be able to use their insurance at Planned Parenthood clinics.
Other community providers and federally qualified health centers have said clearly that there is no way they could absorb Planned Parenthood patients if politicians like Johnson defund Planned Parenthood. Without access to care at Planned Parenthood, many Minnesotans would be forced to delay care or go without it altogether.
Minnesota voters are watching and they know if Jeff Johnson is elected governor, reproductive health care would be in serious danger. Johnson’s comments magnify what’s at stake in this election and display an alarming disregard for Planned Parenthood’s critical role in Minnesota's public health infrastructure.
This is an attack on Minnesotans who already face systemic barriers to health care, especially women of color, women with low incomes, and young people. Johnson’s promise to defund Planned Parenthood proves he is wildly out of touch with what Minnesotans want and need.
Minnesotans’ health and rights are at stake on November 6 and there is only one gubernatorial candidate who will expand health care access, not attack it: Tim Walz. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to endorse Tim Walz, an unwavering champion for reproductive health and rights, including Planned Parenthood’s expert reproductive health care services.