Washington, DC - Today, Paul Ryan held a press conference ahead of committee markups of the Affordable Care Act repeal bill where he reiterated his support for so-called “defunding” Planned Parenthood -- language that would prevent the millions of patients who rely on Medicaid from getting health care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

On a day meant to celebrate women, Speaker Ryan instead threw a press conference to attack women’s health care. When Speaker Ryan threatens to 'defund' Planned Parenthood, he's talking about taking away health care from his own constituents. The one in five women across this country that have been to Planned Parenthood don't come to make a political statement, they come for birth control, well-woman exams, and lifesaving cancer screenings. Unlike Speaker Ryan, Planned Parenthood will continue to stand up for women’s health and rights --  on International Women’s Day and every day.

Throughout today’s hearings, some Republican committee members continued to push the false claim that community health centers could take on Planned Parenthood patients. This false claim has been repeatedly rebutted by public health experts.

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.”

As Vox stated it, “No, women couldn’t just ‘go somewhere else’ if Planned Parenthood closed.”

Vox says, “Historically, researchers have found that when Planned Parenthood clinics close, other clinics do not step up to fill the gap. Meanwhile, when there are fewer reproductive health clinics available, women get less reproductive health care — from birth control to cancer screenings to STD testing and treatment. Unintended pregnancies would likely increase, too.”

As The Huffington Post puts it, “In Racine and Walworth counties,​​ where nearly half of Ryan’s constituents live, there are two Planned Parenthood health centers and zero federally qualified community health centers offering family planning services.”

The Journal Times reports, “‘I fear what will happen is that it’s going to have a lot of women just not get their annual care that they need,’ said Alison Sergio, executive director of the Racine Health Care Network, 904 State St., which provides services to residents with no insurance and limited income."

Lori is a constituent from Paul Ryan’s district who credits Planned Parenthood with her ability to have children. Planned Parenthood detected a large cyst and multiple benign tumors in her ovaries, and after treatment, she went on to have children later in life. Earlier this month, Lori’s daughter traveled to Washington DC to ask Paul Ryan’s office to fight for patients like her mom.

The Facts 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 health centers.

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 LouisianaOhio, 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 health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.

FACT: Although Planned Parenthood health centers 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.

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