“Defund Planned Parenthood” Provision would undercut health care safety net
ST. PAUL, MN – Last night, House Republicans released a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that includes a provision to specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood clinics, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
If enacted, prohibiting patients from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood clinics would have a devastating impact on people and communities across our region and the country. It is important to note that federal funding does not go towards abortion, a law Planned Parenthood opposes but follows. Every year, 65,000 people in our region and 2.5 million people nationwide rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for essential health services, and studies consistently show that proposals to “defund” Planned Parenthood will result in people losing access to health care. As experts have repeatedly said, other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
An initial review of the ACA repeal bill shows that the language to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood is the only provision that is not related to the ACA. And it is deeply unpopular with the American public. An independent poll released in January by polling firm PerryUndem, shows that 70 percent of American voters oppose legislation that would deny patients the ability to go to Planned Parenthood for their health care – including 50 percent of Trump voters.
This bill comes on the heels of the White House proposal that Planned Parenthood stop providing abortion in exchange for funding for preventive health care services.
Statement from Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of PPMNS:
“For the vast majority of people in this country, Planned Parenthood is the solution, not the problem. One in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn't get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda. This proposal would deny millions of women – including thousands here in our region – access to cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment.”
"The White House proposal that Planned Parenthood stop providing abortion is the same demand opponents of women’s health have been pushing for decades, as a part of their long-standing effort to end safe, legal abortion. Planned Parenthood has always stood strong against these attacks.”
“To be clear, no federal funding goes towards abortion in the first place. We are glad that the White House understands that taking away the preventive care Planned Parenthood provides is deeply unpopular and would be a disaster for women’s health care.”
“We are committed to the women and men who come to us for health care every day. We will always stand for women’s ability to make decisions about their health and lives, without interference from politicians in Washington, DC."
Background on "Defunding" Planned Parenthood
FACT: The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood clinics.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. According to an independent poll released in January, 70% of American voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood - including 50% of Trump voters. a February 2017 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed 77% of Iowans back funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care, including 62% of Republicans and 62% of evangelical Christians. This goes along with 19 national polls that all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community -- with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
FACT: Support for Roe v. Wade is at the highest it’s ever been, with 7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion.
FACT: Other providers cannot just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to deny patients using Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood often insist that other providers will fill the gap, but the experts at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families said it flat out: They can't. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”
FACT: Legislation denying access to care at Planned Parenthood was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas passed legislation it was devastating – and shouldn't be repeated in the rest of the country. A significant number of women also lost or had reduced access to primary care providers as a consequence of limiting patient options.
FACT: When lawmakers in Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to “alternative” providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.
FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood clinics provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.
FACT: Although Planned Parenthood clinics comprised 10% of the country’s safety-net centers that offered family planning care in 2010, they served 36% of patients served by such centers. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood was the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood served at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
For more than 85 years, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota has worked in our region to make sure all people have the information and the means to make free and responsible decisions about whether and when to have children. Planned Parenthood operates 19 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota and an Online Health Center, providing quality and affordable family planning, reproductive health care services and education to nearly 65,000 women and men each year.