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

Hempstead, NY – Today, Peter King and his anti-women’s health colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the worst women’s health legislation in a generation.

Statement by JoAnn Smith, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County

“At Planned Parenthood, we believe health care is a right, not a privilege, and we are outraged that Peter King and his anti-women’s health colleagues in the House of Representatives have not only demonstrated their total lack of regard and respect for American women and their families, but have also ensured that the most vulnerable and at-risk people in our community will no longer have access to the health care they both need and deserve.

“This legislation “defunds” Planned Parenthood, and blocks thousands of people right here in Nassau County — and approximately 102,000 people Medicaid recipients in New York alone — from accessing basic preventive health care services such as birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing at Planned Parenthood Health Centers. That will make it harder for women in Nassau County and New York to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.

“One study found that a woman who was previously pregnant could be charged an additional $17,000 per year for coverage.

“Our supporters and patients will not go quietly as DC politicians vote to take away their care. Women and men across the country will continue to speak out to defeat this bill and efforts to block access to Planned Parenthood.

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


If enacted, this legislation would block access to care for thousands of people in Nassau County that rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services including STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings and birth control.

What this means for people across the country and right here in Nassau County:

  • Health coverage would be taken away from 24 million people.
  • Planned Parenthood would be “defunded” by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers -- including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
  • Protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates would be eliminated. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
  • Essential Health Benefits standards including maternity coverage and prescription drugs —that disproportionately affect women — would be undermined.
  • The Medicaid program would be gutted, 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.
  • Reduced access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
  • A nationwide ban imposed on private insurance coverage of abortion.

The American Health Care Act, including the provision to prohibit people with Medicaid 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.

As attention now turns toward the Senate, three things are clear:

  1. The Senate does not have the votes to pass the House version of the American Health Care Act which includes “defunding” Planned Parenthood.
  2. The Senate should listen to the 80% of the public who support Planned Parenthood and oppose efforts to block people from getting care at Planned Parenthood.” (Quinnipiac Poll, 3/23/17)
  3. The American people want Congress to keep the protections in the Affordable Care Act. A recent ABC-Washington Post poll shows that 62 percent of Americans, including 67% of Independents, want to keep national protections that cover essential health benefits, and not allow it to be varied by state.


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.