WASHINGTON, DC – A leaked draft of House Republicans’ bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act also includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood (page 26-28).
If enacted, defunding Planned Parenthood would have a devastating impact on health care in America, and shutting down Planned Parenthood health centers would result in 2.5 million women and men losing access to essential and preventive health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD and HIV testing.
An initial review of the draft ACA repeal bill also shows that the language to defund Planned Parenthood is the only provision that is not directly related to the ACA.
Like other contentious issues, including the elimination of Medicaid expansion and subsidies, some House Republicans have expressed concerns about the defund Planned Parenthood provision in the ACA repeal bill.
In January, the Washington Post reported that Congressman John Faso (R-NY) warned House Republicans in a closed door meeting about the political fallout for defunding Planned Parenthood. In a February CQ article, Congressman Faso said, “moving forward with plans to defund Planned Parenthood is ‘ill advised’ — even though he considers himself ‘strongly anti-choice.’”
CQ also reported Congressman Faso saying, “he has spoken with colleagues about the issue and believes 20 to 30 House members have similar stances.”
A majority of Americans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. An independent poll released in January by Perry Undem, a nonpartisan polling firm, shows that seventy-one percent of American voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood – including fifty percent of Trump voters.
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, "An estimated one in five women in America will rely on Planned Parenthood for care at some point in her life. Access to basic women's health care shouldn’t get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda."
During congressional recess this week, Planned Parenthood supporters across the country spoke out against defunding at town halls and rallies. Many Republican members of Congress have faced tough questions regarding their stance on defunding Planned Parenthood.
- In Tennessee, at Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s town hall, a Planned Parenthood patient spoke out about the life saving care Planned Parenthood provides.
- In West Virginia, Congressman Evan Jenkins’s office faced questions about defunding.
- In Pennsylvania, supporters rallied against an absent Senator Pat Toomey.
- In New Jersey, Congressman Leonard Lance was asked about defunding Planned Parenthood.
- In North Dakota, a patient educated Congressman Kevin Cramer on the devastating impact of his anti-women’s health positions.
- In Nevada, Senator Dean Heller was asked for an explanation as to why he would take away care from patients at Planned Parenthood.
- In Utah earlier this month,Congressman Jason Chaffetz was booed at a widely attended town hall for wanting to defund Planned Parenthood.
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 budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider they’ve been able to rely on for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funds from going to abortion services. Defunding Planned Parenthood instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care.
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. Communities of color, immigrant communities, rural areas, young people, and the LGBTQ community, who already face structural barriers to accessing health care, are disproportionately impacted.
FACT: Other providers cannot just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to defund 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 & Families said flat out:they can't. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”
FACT: “Defunding” was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators just wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas defunded Planned Parenthood 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 defunding.
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.
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 primary and 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 is the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
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
February 24, 2017