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Undercounting immigrant communities means less representation and fewer services — including health care — would be available in those communities 

WASHINGTON D.C. - Planned Parenthood condemns the Trump-Pence administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The census determines people’s long-term representation at the federal, state and local level, and plays a significant role in ensuring that federal tax dollars are sent where they’re needed based on how many people live in given communities.  Adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is a departure from long-standing policy in which all people residing in the United States are counted in the census. This change , which is opposed by abipartisan group of former Census Bureau directors, is expected to result in an undercount of marginalized communities, including many immigrant communities.  

Certain populations, like families with young children, some Indigenous populations, families with low incomes, and immigrants, have historically been underrepresented in census data. Adding additional barriers and exacerbating the undercount of immigrant communities would likely mean a reduction in the amount of support for women’s health programs in those communities. For example, Medicaid, a program that one in five women of reproductive age rely on, accounts for 58 percent of census-guided funding. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also distributes funding for the nation’s program for affordable birth control based, in part, on the census results. Other services affected by the census range from highways and construction to foster care to State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP).

Planned Parenthood released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: 

Adding a question to the 2020 Census about citizenship status is discriminatory. People’s health and political power depend on the census being conducted in a way that provides the highest quality and most accurate representation of all our communities. Immigrant communities continue to be attacked by this administration. This citizenship question targets and intimidates immigrant communities, and will lead to fewer people being counted and fewer people being able to access the services they need. At Planned Parenthood, we believe that no one’s access to services should be compromised because they belong to an immigrant family or community. We commit to fighting alongside our community and partners to call out this injustice and call on U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reverse this decision.

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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 more than 600 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.