Politicians Doubled Down On Attacks on Women’s Health Care
Women’s Health Champions DeGette, Schakowsky,DelBene, and Chu Introduced Amendments Protecting Preventive Health Care for Millions of Women
WASHINGTON DC - Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee advanced legislation that would specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers -- including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. Despite objections from an array of health care experts and providers, members of Congress from both parties, and millions of Americans, the Committees advanced a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would jeopardize health care for millions. The bill will go next to the House Budget committee and then to the House floor for a vote.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Simply put, if this bill becomes law, it would mean a health care disaster for this country. This bill would leave an estimated 15 million people without insurance, and would strip millions of our patients from the essential reproductive health care they depend on. We’ve made tremendous gains in this country thanks to expanded access to reproductive health care and birth control, and now is not the time to roll that progress back. Planned Parenthood is a 100-year-old health care provider that one in five women in America has relied on. The American people oppose this bill, health care experts oppose this bill, and even Republican members of Congress oppose this bill. It’s time to stop playing politics with women’s health and lives.”
Passage comes after a marathon 27-hour markup in the Energy and Commerce Committee. In the middle of the night, Committee Republican leadership rejected an effort by women’s health champions Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to remove the language attacking Planned Parenthood. Committee members even laughed when Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) falsely tried to claim that this measure is not about Planned Parenthood.
In fact, the language to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood is the only provision in the bill that is not related to the Affordable Care Act. And it is deeply unpopular with the American public. An independent poll released in January by polling firm PerryUndem, shows that 70 percent of American voters oppose legislation that would deny patients the ability to go to Planned Parenthood for their health care – including 50 percent of Trump voters.
It is important to note that contrary to misinformation that some Committee members spread, federal funding does not go toward abortion. The Hyde amendment, a law Planned Parenthood opposes but follows, prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion. Every year, 2.5 million people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services, and studies consistently show that these proposals to attack Planned Parenthood will result in people losing access to health care. As experts have repeatedly said, other providers simply cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
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 independentpoll 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 support 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, according to Pew Research, with7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion.
FACT: Other providers cannot 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 Louisiana,Ohio, andFlorida 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.
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 09, 2017