“Defunding” Planned Parenthood would deny millions access to cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment 

Sarah Stoesz: “This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.” 

St. Paul, MN – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on the worst women’s health legislation in a generation. The American Health Care Act would: 

  • Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood by blocking people who rely on Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood clinics -- including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
  • Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
  • Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.
  • Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 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. 

The American Health Care Act, including the provision to prohibit people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood, has drawn widespread opposition from health care experts, including the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, members of Congress from both parties, and a clear majority of American voters

This is the second time in two months that House Republicans have tried to “defund” Planned Parenthood. The original version of the American Health Care Act, which did not receive a vote in late March, also included such a provision. That bill faced intense opposition from Republicans and Democrats alike. 

If enacted, prohibiting individuals from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on the 2.5 million – including 24,000 in Minnesota – people who rely on Planned Parenthood 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 clinics are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.   

Statement by Sarah Stoesz, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota 

“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This disastrous legislation once again makes being a woman a pre-existing condition; ‘defunds’ Planned Parenthood; guts maternity coverage; strips 24 million of their health insurance; lets insurance companies charge people with pre-existing conditions exorbitant rates; forces new moms back to work shortly after giving birth; and reduces 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. Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across Minnesota.

“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. Women and men across the country will fight to protect access to Planned Parenthood and to defeat this bill. 

“The Senate should listen to the American people and reject the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.”