At today’s White House press briefing, in response to a question about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, HHS Secretary Tom Price responded, “Through community health centers, the bill being proposed right now would allow greater access for women to health care in greater numbers of facilities across this land.”
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.”
FACT: Expert after expert has resoundingly dismissed the idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. In fact, Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, called the idea “ludicrous.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families have said flat out they cannot.
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. In Wisconsin, health care providers in the state confirmed that they didn’t absorb Planned Parenthood patients when health centers were forced to close.
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.
FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in 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: 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.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 07, 2017