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Washington, DC --- Days before a possible government shutdown, as the Senate readies to debate and vote on a Continuing Resolution that would block Planned Parenthood from serving patients who rely on public programs for health care --- endangering the health care for millions across the country --- Planned Parenthood released a video and fact sheet walking members of Congress and the public through what it actually means to “defund” Planned Parenthood.

Watch the video HERE.

Statement from Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards:

“Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider of reproductive health care. Millions of people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and annual exams. When women and men walk through Planned Parenthood’s doors, they don’t do so to make a political statement --- they come for high-quality, affordable, and compassionate care.

“This legislation threatens millions of people's access to preventive health care. In their obsession with attacking women’s access to health care, extreme members of Congress would take basic health care away from people who need it most --- those who are struggling to get by, who rely on Medicaid or have no health insurance, and those who live in areas with few medical options. Instead of looking for new ways to help advance women’s health, these out-of-touch politicians are targeting the most vulnerable. It’s time for politicians like Ted Cruz to stop trying to build their political careers on the backs of women. These laws hurt people --- and they are not what the American people want Congress to be focused on.”

The two-minute video, titled “What does ‘defunding Planned Parenthood’ really mean?” walks the viewer through what would happen if Planned Parenthood was blocked from serving patients who rely on federal funds in order to receive basic health care.

Watch the video HERE.

Today’s Senate debate and vote come as a growing chorus of voices have been speaking out against defunding the nonprofit health care provider:

  • The Congressional Budget Office released two reports in recent weeks --- showing both that defunding Planned Parenthood would have devastating results --- including an estimated  650,000 patients losing access to services in the short-term, leaving people without any immediate access to quality care -- and indicating that it is uncertain how many more women in the future could be impacted by a defunding measure; and that it would end up costing taxpayers $130 million.

  • Leading experts released analysis showing that if Planned Parenthood were defunded, other health care providers would be unable to absorb many of the patients affected — leaving people without any access to care.

  • The sixth national poll in just over a month showed that overwhelming majorities of the public oppose defunding Planned Parenthood and oppose a federal government shutdown over the issue.

Recently, extreme politicians have redoubled their long-running efforts to “defund” the nonprofit organization, and block patients across the country from accessing care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers — preventing Planned Parenthood from providing low-income, uninsured individuals and those enrolled in Medicaid with basic preventive care like breast exams, lifesaving cervical cancer screenings, and birth control or from participating in specific public health programs, such as family planning programs and sex education programs. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, cancer screenings, annual exams, and other high-quality health care services to 2.7 million people a year at nearly 700 nonprofit community health centers nationwide.

In the past, defunding Planned Parenthood and preventing its health centers from serving those who rely on public programs for health care has had devastating consequences — in Indiana it led to an HIV epidemic, in Texas it led to tens of thousands of women not getting care, and in Tennessee it led to a 1400% drop in services. Because Planned Parenthood health centers provide unique care, and are often in medically underserved communities, experts have asserted that “defunding” Planned Parenthood would result in many patients having nowhere else to go. In fact the American Public Health Association dismissed the idea that other providers could just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients as ludicrous.


"What does ‘defunding Planned Parenthood’ really mean?"

Animated Video Script

[START] Recently, some extreme, out-of-touch governors have tried to defund Planned Parenthood, and too many presidential candidates have threatened to do so nationwide.

But what does “defunding Planned Parenthood” really mean?

“Defunding Planned Parenthood” means that the government would refuse to reimburse Planned Parenthood when they provide specific services to low-income patients, just like at other doctors’ offices.  Many Planned Parenthood patients wouldn’t be able to get health services like breast exams, STI and HIV testing, Pap tests, cervical cancer screenings, referrals for other health needs, and birth control information and services.

Unfortunately, the use of federal funds to cover abortion is prohibited — except in the dire circumstances of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in jeopardy.

2.7 million people rely on Planned Parenthood for medical services, and at least sixty percent of Planned Parenthood patients depend on public health programs to take care of themselves and their families.  Without this assistance, they would have nowhere to go for the health care they need.

For someone like Stephanie Canales, of Fresno, California, defunding Planned Parenthood means she would be unable to get high-quality birth control to prevent unintended pregnancies, and she may not have been able to complete her education.

For Amanda Howard, of Houston, Texas, defunding Planned Parenthood means that her pre-cervical cancer would not have been diagnosed.  She wouldn’t have been able to get the treatment she needed.  Amanda could have gone on to develop cancer and even died.

And for Sinda Mills, of Detroit, Michigan, a single mother of three, defunding Planned Parenthood means her Graves disease, a serious thyroid condition, would have gone undetected, which could have led to heart failure.

These are just some of the people whose health care is under attack by politicians voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

The stakes are higher than ever.  Planned Parenthood Action Fund is doing everything it can to ensure that no one’s health care is taken away. [END]

What “defunding” Planned Parenthood really means:

The vast majority of federal funding Planned Parenthood affiliates receive is reimbursement for providing patients enrolled in Medicaid with basic care, such as HIV testing and treatment, birth control, well-woman exams, and cancer screenings. The remaining federal funds Planned Parenthood affiliates receive go to providing low-income, uninsured individuals with basic preventive care like breast exams, lifesaving cervical cancer screenings, and birth control; to teen pregnancy prevention programs which have helped the country reach its lowest rate of teen pregnancy in 40 years; and to evidence-based sex education programs. This means that the amount of money received by Planned Parenthood health centers is determined primarily by how many individuals turn to Planned Parenthood for services. Bills blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds will not reduce the need for health services --- it will simply make it harder, and in some cases nearly impossible, for individuals in a community to access care.

In 2013, Planned Parenthood served 2.7 million women, men, and young people.

  • 1.5 million of those patients received services through Title X — the nation’s family planning program.

  • At least 78 percent of Planned Parenthood’s health care patients live with incomes of 150 percent of the federal poverty level or less (the equivalent of $36,375 a year for a family of four in 2015).

  • Approximately 60 percent of the patients Planned Parenthood serves each year benefit from public health coverage programs such as the nation’s family planning program and Medicaid.

  • In addition, Planned Parenthood affiliates reached 1.5 million young people and families through sex education and outreach.

  • More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas.

In 2013, patients came into Planned Parenthood health centers 4.6 million times for services.  

  • 2.2 million, or 52 percent of all patient visits, were with patients enrolled in Medicaid.

In 2013, Planned Parenthood provided 10.6 million services.

  • Nearly 400,000 Pap tests

  • Nearly 500,000 breast exams

  • Nearly 4.5 million STI tests and treatments, including HIV tests

In 2013, Planned Parenthood affiliates received a total of $528.4 million in government reimbursements and grants — about 75 percent of which was reimbursement for serving patients enrolled in Medicaid.

  • Planned Parenthood affiliates are nonprofit health care providers that receive reimbursements for providing preventive health care services like cancer screenings and birth control to low-income patients, just like other health care providers receive. Planned Parenthood’s national office and affiliates also receive funding from private sources, including foundations and individual supporters, which are essential because government funds do not fully cover the cost of care.

  • All government funds that Planned Parenthood affiliates receive are restricted for specific purposes. Federal funds are withheld from covering abortion — except in the dire circumstances of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is in jeopardy. Planned Parenthood fully complies with this and all government restrictions.

Approximately 1 in 5 women has relied on a Planned Parenthood health center for care in her lifetime.


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