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Anti-Choice Leadership in the House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

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Monica McCafferty
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Published: 02.18.11| Updated: 02.18.11

DENVER – The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to pass the FY11 Continuing Resolution that eliminates the Title X family planning program with an amendment that blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds, furthering the House leadership’s agenda to take health care away from women.

 “While the outcome of this vote is not a surprise, it is out of line with what voters want Congress to focus on,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

The House voted 240 in favor, 185 opposed, and 1 present to the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

Under the guise of deficit reduction, House leaders aim to eliminate the $317 million Title X family planning program and prohibit all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, one of the largest women’s health providers in the country, as a means of cutting the national debt.  These steps will actually result in thousands of women across Colorado losing access to basic primary and preventive health care such as affordable cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, Pap tests, and annual exams. 

There are 62 Title X entities in Colorado, from Fruita to Burlington, that receive these federal funds.  Without Title X in Colorado, over 60,000 women and men will go without family planning services.  For six in 10 women who receive medical care from doctors and nurses at family planning health centers like those run by Planned Parenthood, these centers are their main source of health care.  In 2009 alone, Title X providers across the country performed 2.2 million Pap tests, 2.3 million breast exams, and over six million tests for STDs, including nearly a million HIV tests.  During that time Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, who does not receive Title X funds but receives funding to screen for STDs, performed almost 52,000 STD tests and more than 11,000 HIV tests. On top of that, Colorado stands to lose over $4 million dollars in federal funds with the elimination of Title X, at a time when the state cannot afford to make up for this loss.

To underscore the far reach of this piece of legislation, it would also cut off 48 percent of Planned Parenthood patients nationwide — approximately 1.4 million people — from Medicaid.  Planned Parenthood’s health centers in Colorado see nearly 3,000 new Medicaid patients each year.  This means there will be one less dependable provider for Medicaid at a time when fewer private doctors are accepting those patients, and as health care reform is set to allow more patients to qualify for the program.

“For 95 years, Planned Parenthood has provided medical care and family planning services to women across the country.  One in five American women has received care from a Planned Parenthood health center during her lifetime, and last year three million patients came to one of our more than 800 health centers.  It is difficult to understand why people who say they are opposed to abortion would do so much to undermine the family planning and contraception that helps prevent the need for it, said Cowart. 

“Additionally, we know that family planning programs like Title X save money.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, for every public dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save nearly $4.

PPRM is encouraging senators from both parties to join together to reject this extreme approach, restore common sense, and guarantee that Planned Parenthood and the millions of Americans who count on us and other Title X entities for health care are protected.

For more information about the Pence amendment and how it will impact women, men and families across the country, please visit: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom.htm

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Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy.  More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 28 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming.  Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care.  For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.

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