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Statement by Stacy James, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Montana, on Passage of Federal Pence Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Billings, MT — Planned Parenthood of Montana released the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to bar all Planned Parenthood affiliates from receiving federal funds for any purpose, including providing basic primary and lifesaving preventive health care to women and families.  Pence offered the amendment to the FY11 Continuing Resolution, which also completely eliminates the national family planning program Title X.

“Today, the Republican House leadership pushed through the U.S. House of Representatives an extreme and dangerous piece of legislation targeting Planned Parenthood, including Montana’s largest and most trusted health care provider of women’s reproductive healthcare, and voted to  prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for any purpose,
including providing basic primary and lifesaving preventive health care to women and families.  

“The outcome of this vote is not a surprise, but it is radically out of step with mainstream values and it is out of line with the issues voters want Congress to focus on.


“In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership including Representative Rehberg, has launched an outrageous assault on the thousands of Montanans who rely on our local clinics for primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more.


“For 42 years, Planned Parenthood of Montana has provided medical care and family planning services to women across the country.  One in five American women has received care from a Planned Parenthood health center during her lifetime, and last year over 20,000 patients came to one of our 5 health centers.  We are trusted by thousands of Montana women and families, and we deliver care to those who need it most.


“This policy of attempting to undermine Planned Parenthood, the organization in the United States that does more than any other to encourage the use of contraception for those wanting to avoid pregnancy, certainly guarantees an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies.  It is difficult to understand why people who say they are opposed to abortion would do so much to undermine the family planning and contraception that helps prevent the need for it.


“To be clear, the amendment to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit and it does nothing to improve the economy. In fact, it takes health care away from working Montana women and men who cannot afford to pay for it on their own. 


“Planned Parenthood of Montana is a community-based provider of life-saving primary and preventive health care.  For many Montanans, our doctors and nurses are the only health care providers they see. 

“Most importantly, those who want to put Planned Parenthood out of business have not explained how the three million Americans currently served by any of Planned Parenthood's more than 800 health centers will get the health care they need if this dangerous provision becomes law.


“It now falls to Senators from both parties to join together to reject this extreme approach, restore common sense, and guarantee that Planned Parenthood and the millions of Americans who count on us for health care are protected.  Ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider is what mainstream Americans want and expect from the United States Senate.”   


Planned Parenthood of Montana serves approximately 20,000 patients annually at clinics in Billings, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula as well as at seven rural, satellite sites in small, isolated communities.  Nearly 70% of Planned Parenthood of Montana patients benefit from a sliding fee scale that assesses charges based on income and household size.


In 2009-2010, Planned Parenthood of Montana:


·        Provided 7,776 cancer screenings

·        Provided 13,350 sexually transmitted infection tests

·        Dispensed 74,921 cycles of birth control

Rep. Pence’s amendment would specifically prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds, including Medicaid, to provide affordable cancer screenings, birth control, HIV testing, and testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections.


One hundred members of Congress have signed a letter showing widespread support for Planned Parenthood. The letter declared, “We are writing to strongly oppose efforts designed to undermine women’s access to basic, preventive health care and the women’s health providers they rely on in their communities.  In particular, we are deeply concerned about the impact that H.R. 217, the ‘Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,’ [Rep. Pence’s companion, standalone bill] would have on American women and their families.  H.R. 217 is aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood health centers.”


To underscore the far reach of Rep. Pence’s proposal, it would also cut off 48 percent of Planned Parenthood patients approximately 1.4 million people from their source of health care. 


In doing so, the Pence amendment also reverses a long-standing patient protection in Medicaid law that ensures that Medicaid patients can access family planning services with any willing provider.


Rep. Pence’s proposal is an unprecedented, ideological attack on a specific health care provider that will result in more women losing access to the very basic health care they need.


More than 90 percent of the care Planned Parenthood health centers provide is preventive, yet Rep. Pence is steadfast in wanting to bar Pl Planned Parenthood, because it also provides women with abortion care. 


Every year, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses carry out nearly one million lifesaving screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams, and its health centers also provide contraception to nearly 2.5 million patients and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.


Planned Parenthood is also an essential health care provider.  For six in 10 women who receive medical care from doctors and nurses at family planning health centers like those run by Planned Parenthood, these centers are their main source of health care.

Combined, these two extreme proposals would completely undermine millions of women’s access to basic primary and preventive health care, such as lifesaving cancer screenings, contraception, HIV testing and counseling, STI testing and treatment, and annual exams.


Read Planned Parenthood’s Fact Sheet on Title X and the Pence bill to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for any purpose.


Planned Parenthood of Montana, Inc.


Beth Cogswell, Director of Communications



February 21, 2011

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