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Senate must reject ACA Repeal that “Defunds” Planned Parenthood

Washington, DC — The Senate has just posted bill text that repeals the Affordable Care Act. The text largely mirrors the Better Care Reconciliation Act released on July 13, except that it removes the Cruz amendment.

This bill is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It would take away health care from 22 million and prevent millions from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood. In addition, this bill guts Essential Health Benefit protections, including coverage for maternity care and prescription drugs. Thirteen million women could lose coverage to maternity care under this bill.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America strongly opposes the latest version of the Senate health care repeal bill.

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

This latest version of Trumpcare is just more of the same disaster: eliminating insurance coverage for millions, blocking women’s access to birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood, and eliminating coverage for maternity care.

“Every version of Trumpcare has been devastating to women. And at every step of the process, Republican leaders have chipped away at women’s health and rights. Simply put, Trumpcare is the worst bill for women in a generation, especially for low-income women and women of color.

“The American people have made it clear time and time again that they will not stand to see Trumpcare passed into law. That’s why, since day one of this fight, people across the country have been tirelessly organizing, making calls to Congress, attending town halls, and hosting rallies to protect women’s access to health care.

“Slashing Medicaid, cutting maternity coverage, and blocking millions from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood would result in more undetected cancers and more unintended pregnancies. And it puts moms and their babies at risk.

“The Medicaid assistance grants that some have suggested will not make up for the more than $700 billion cuts to Medicaid. The 1 in 5 women of reproductive age who rely on Medicaid for preventive care will be the ones who pay the steepest price.

“It’s time for the Senate to listen to the American people and stop trying to take away health care and stop trying to block millions from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care. The Senate must reject this bill.

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FACT: Experts agree that the provision to block people on Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood is a violation of the Byrd rule. And there is broad consensus that it should not be in the reconciliation bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act.

  • Newsweek: A senior Republican Senate aide conceded Thursday that the authors of the bill are unsure if the Planned Parenthood provision will pass muster with the Senate parliamentarian, a nonpartisan official who has the power to deny the majority's bid to consider the rules under reconciliation.

  • Axios: Planned Parenthood and abortion: Collins won't support the bill's provisions to prohibit federal funding from going to insurance plans that cover abortion and to defund Planned Parenthood. McConnell's best hope might be that the parliamentarian axes them and Cruz accepts the decision.

  • CNN: The House bill prohibits federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year. This is a major issue for Sens. Collins and Lisa Murkowski — a potential deal-breaker for both — who oppose limiting funds for the group. But there's a chance it's something Senate GOP leaders may not have to grapple with at all. Many aides believe the Senate Parliamentarian will strike this provision down on Byrd Rule grounds.

FACT: Planned Parenthood grassroots organizing has been a driving force in opposing Trumpcare and efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood. For months, an army of pink-clad Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and advocates have taken thousands of actions from coast to coast including attending protest rallies, speaking out at congressional town halls, calling their members of Congress, delivering petitions to congressional offices, and hosting field hearings.

Over the last several months, Planned Parenthood supporters have:

  • Made more than 180,000 phone calls to members of Congress

  • Organized more than 2,200 events across the country, including rallies, petition drops, phone banks, and marches

  • Delivered over 1 million petition signatures to members of Congress in opposition to  “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

FACT: A bipartisan majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood and oppose “defunding.”

  • Quinnipiac poll shows that 80 percent of voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, oppose efforts to block people from getting care at Planned Parenthood.

  • The Senate health care repeal bill is the most unpopular bill in three decades and the provision blocking women from Planned Parenthood is one of the most unpopular parts – with 80 percent of voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, opposing.  

  • NBC News/WSJ poll shows that only 12 percent of voters in “Trump” counties support the House version of Trumpcare. Forty-one percent said it was a “bad idea.” (NBC News/WSJ polled 439 counties where Trump either significantly outperformed Mitt Romney’s vote in 2012 or flipped the vote from President Barack Obama. In these counties, Trump’s job approval rating stands at 50 percent — about 10 points higher than in most national polls).

FACT: The Planned Parenthood provision is still a no-go for key Republican senators.  

FACT: This version of the Senate repeal bill would:

  • Take away health insurance from millions of people and make it less affordable for those who will still have insurance.

  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers– including birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.

  • Cut Essential Health Benefits protections, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women. Thirteen million women could lose coverage to maternity care under this bill. The U.S. maternal mortality rate is rising, and considerable racial disparities persist. Maternal mortality rates among African American women are four times higher than white women.  

  • Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 5 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.  

  • Reduce access to financial assistance that helps 85 percent of people on the Marketplace purchase insurance. This will reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control, and life-saving care, such as prescription drug coverage.

  • Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion by prohibiting financial assistance from being used to pay for an abortion outside of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Plans could be subject to a penalty for violating this provision.

FACT: A powerful editorial in the Washington Post underscores the devastating impact of blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood: “Of all the magical thinking that has gone into Republican proposals to replace Obamacare, none has been more fanciful than the argument accompanying efforts to defund Planned Parenthood…. In truth, millions of women would lose access to critical health care.”

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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.