Denver, CO – Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains strongly opposes the just released Senate version of the American Health Care Act.

Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of PPRM: “The Senate's version of the American Health Care Act is frustrating and disappointing. Rather than improving the detrimental House bill, they've kept provisions that will block more than 30,000 women, men and young people in the Rocky Mountain region alone from accessing the trusted reproductive health care they rely on. We will not stand by while politicians play these types of political games with the health care and livelihood of more than one third our patients."

This bill is the worst bill for women in a generation. In addition to “defunding” Planned Parenthood and slashing Medicaid, it guts Essential Health Benefit protections, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs. Thirteen million women across the nation could lose coverage to maternity care under this bill. This bill would disproportionately impact women who already face unfair barriers to care, including low-income women and women of color. 

Experts agree the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision is a violation of the Byrd Rule because it is politically motivated policy, similar to the tax credit provision related to abortion. It has no place on reconciliation because it violates these rules, and it has no place on any legislation because it is the epitome of a mean-spirited policy that hurts millions of women. 

CNN reported: “Many aides believe the Senate Parliamentarian will strike this provision down on Byrd Rule grounds.”

Now is the time for every person who cares about women’s health and access to affordable quality care to speak out and join this fight. It’s clear that the American people strongly oppose blocking women from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care. We must get louder than ever so our elected officials finally start listening to us. 

Planned Parenthood grassroots organizing has been a driving force in opposing Trumpcare and efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood. For months, an army of pink Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and advocates have held protest rallies, spoken out at Congressional town halls, called their members of Congress, delivered petitions to Congressional offices, and hosted field hearings. 

Over the last several months, in Colorado alone, we have: 

  • Garnered 800 new Planned Parenthood activists
  • Hosted monthly action events highlighting pro-reproductive health elected officials and speaking out to folks like Sen. Cory Gardner
  • Delivered more than 1,300 letters to Sen. Gardner’s doorstep and connected 143 people directly to his office to speak out on the AHCA

Like the House bill, the Senate bill was largely negotiated by men behind closed doors, so it is not surprising that it closely mirrors the House version of the American Health Care Act, and would:  

  • Take away health insurance from millions of people and make it less affordable for those who will still have insurance. 
  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.
  • Cut Essential Health Benefits protections, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women. Thirteen million women could lose coverage to maternity care under this bill. 
  • Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 5 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.
  • Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
  • Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.

Blocking people’s access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular with both health care experts and Americans.  

Blocking people’s access to Planned Parenthood would have a devastating impact on people’s health.

  • If enacted, prohibiting individuals from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on the 2.4 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services.
  • In March, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision would result in reduced access to care for patients who live in areas where Planned Parenthood is the only health care option and where Planned Parenthood serves low-income populations. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. 
  • The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. Planned Parenthood does not get a blank check from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Planned Parenthood receives reimbursements, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services.  

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Every year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains provides lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, breast health services, annual wellness exams, and birth control to nearly 100,000 women, men, and young people in Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Wyoming. Additionally, PPRM offers accurate, nonjudgmental sexual health education and information to 65,000 young people each year. Planned Parenthood health centers offer affordable, quality preventive health care — no matter what.  

For more information about Planned Parenthood health services, or to schedule an appointment at the health center nearest you, visit pprm.org or call 303.321.PLAN