Cecile Richards: “If this is the Senate’s idea of a bill with heart, then the women of America should have fear struck in theirs.  Slashing Medicaid and blocking millions of women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood is beyond heartless. One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights.” 

Washington, DC – Planned Parenthood Federation of America strongly opposes the just released Senate version of the American Health Care Act.

This bill is the worst bill for women in a generation. In addition to “defunding” Planned Parenthood and slashing Medicaid, it guts Essential Health Benefit protections, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs. Thirteen million women could lose coverage to maternity care under this bill.

Experts agree the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision is a violation of the Byrd Rule because it is politically-motivated policy, similar to the tax credit provision related to abortion. It has no place on reconciliation because it violates these rules, and it has no place on any legislation because it is the epitome of a mean-spirited policy that hurts millions of women.  

CNN reported: “Many aides believe the Senate Parliamentarian will strike this provision down on Byrd Rule grounds.”

Now is the time for every person who cares about women’s health and access to affordable quality care to speak out and join this fight. It’s clear that the American people strongly oppose blocking women from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care. We must get louder than ever so our elected officials finally start listening to us.

Planned Parenthood grassroots organizing has been a driving force in opposing Trumpcare and efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood. For months, an army of pink Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and advocates have held protest rallies, spoken out at Congressional town halls, called their members of Congress, delivered petitions to Congressional offices, and hosted field hearings.

Over the last several months, Planned Parenthood supporters have:

  • made more than 157,429 phone calls to members of Congress

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

  • delivered close to 1 million petitions to members of Congress in opposition to  “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

Like the House bill, the Senate bill was largely negotiated by men behind closed doors, so it is not surprising that it closely mirrors the House version of the American Health Care Act, and 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 STD 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.

  • 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 no-cost preventive services, including birth control.

  • Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.

Blocking people’s access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular with both health care experts and Americans.   

Blocking people’s access to Planned Parenthood would have a devastating impact on people’s health. 

  • If enacted, prohibiting individuals from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on the 2.4 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services.

  • In March, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the “defund” Planned Parenthood provision would result in reduced access to care for patients who live in areas where Planned Parenthood is the only health care option and where Planned Parenthood serves low-income populations. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.  

  • The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. Planned Parenthood does not get a blank check from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Planned Parenthood receives reimbursements, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services.

A number of Republican Senators have expressed their support for Planned Parenthood.

Statement by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“If this is the Senate’s idea of a bill with heart, then the women of America should have fear struck in theirs.  Slashing Medicaid and blocking millions of women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood is beyond heartless.

“The Senate bill closely mirrors the House bill, which has been widely criticized as ‘mean’ and the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.

“Each and every senator should listen to the American people and vote against this legislation.

“If this bill passes the Senate, the consequences are dire:

It would ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood; gut maternity coverage; strip millions of their health insurance; force new moms back to work shortly after giving birth; and reduce access to contraception.

“In short, this bill makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.

“One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They are demanding that the Senate reject this bill and keep Planned Parenthood’s doors open.”