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Lower court rulings stand and continue to protect birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood 

Washington, DC -- Today, the Supreme Court allowed lower court rulings in the fifth and tenth circuits to stand in Medicaid “defunding” cases. This decision protects Medicaid patients who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

We are pleased that lower court rulings protecting patients remain in place. Every person has a fundamental right to health care, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn. As a doctor, I have seen what’s at stake when people cannot access the care they need, and when politics gets in the way of people making their own health care choices. We won’t stop fighting for every patient who relies on Planned Parenthood for life-saving, life-changing care.


Background
Nationwide, in 67 percent of counties, safety-net clinics would have to double their capacity in order to make up for Planned Parenthood patients. Those who’d be hurt the most include people working hard to get by and people who already face systemic barriers to accessing health care because of racist and discriminatory policies — especially people of color, people with low to moderate incomes, and people who live in rural areas. Not only is it dangerous to block care at Planned Parenthood, but it’s also deeply unpopular. Every poll shows that American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose these attacks.

We already know how dangerous it is when politicians block access to critical health care at Planned Parenthood — health outcomes worsen and women suffer. In Iowa, STD rates skyrocketed after politicians forced Planned Parenthood to close four health centers. In Texas, the state’s own numbers show that 30,000 fewer women accessed services after the state blocked women from Planned Parenthood health centers.

In Louisiana, Planned Parenthood serves patients at two health centers — in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, of the total number of female contraceptive clients served at publicly funded clinics in East Baton Rouge parish, Planned Parenthood served nearly 70 percent of them in 2015. In Orleans Parish, Planned Parenthood cared for four in 10 of them. Furthermore, nearly every court has blocked politicians from their attempts at stripping access to health care at Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid program.

In Kansas, blocking Medicaid patients from Planned Parenthood would make a bad situation even worse in the state. Already, Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the health care needs for those who rely on federally­ funded health programs. In 2014, more than 188,000 Kansas women were in need of publicly funded family planning services, according to theGuttmacher Institute. Kansas is one of only 17 states that has not expanded Medicaid. According to a recent study comparing Kansas to states that expanded Medicaid like Ohio and Indiana, health insurance coverage continues to lag behind in Kansas and people with low incomes in the state cannot get the care they need. Already, those who qualify for Medicaid in Kansas earn the least amount of income. Taking away an essential health care provider will only harm those who are disproportionately affected by a failed health care system designed by Kansas politicians.  

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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.

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