PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2017
House Introduces Bill to Repeal ACA and Block Medicaid Patients From Coming to Planned Parenthood
“Defund Planned Parenthood” Provision would undercut health care safety net
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Republicans released a bill to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that includes a provision to specifically block people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
If enacted, prohibiting patients from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on people and communities across America. It is important to note that federal funding does not go towards abortion, a law Planned Parenthood opposes but follows. Every year, 2.5 million people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services, and studies consistently show that proposals to “defund” Planned Parenthood will result in people losing access to health care. As experts have repeatedly said, other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, “One in five women in America has relied on Planned Parenthood, and their health care shouldn't get caught up in congressional Republicans' extreme agenda. This proposal would deny millions of women access to cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment.”
An initial review of the ACA repeal bill shows that the language to block people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood is the only provision that is not related to the ACA. And it is deeply unpopular with the American public.
An independent poll released in January by polling firm PerryUndem, shows that 70 percent of American voters oppose legislation that would deny patients the ability to go to Planned Parenthood for their health care – including 50 percent of Trump voters.
In fact, a number of House Republicans have expressed concerns about the “defund Planned Parenthood” provision in the ACA repeal bill.
In January, the Washington Post reported that Congressman John Faso (R-NY) warned House Republicans in a closed-door meeting about the political fallout from blocking patients from care at Planned Parenthood. In a February CQ article, Congressman Faso said that “moving forward with plans to defund Planned Parenthood is ‘ill advised’ — even though he considers himself ‘strongly’” anti-choice.
CQ also reported Congressman Faso saying, “he has spoken with colleagues about the issue and believes 20 to 30 House members have similar stances.”
The Hill recently reported Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) saying, “I think we should also separate out the Planned Parenthood issue from the broader healthcare issue. I think healthcare reform is controversial and complex enough without Planned Parenthood. Why put it in? It makes this whole exercise more difficult.”
Today, the New York Times reported that the White House is also concerned about “political repercussions” about “defunding” Planned Parenthood.
Last week,150 Planned Parenthood patient advocates and providers from across the country traveled to Washington, DC, and shared their personal stories with members of Congress in nearly 250 meetings, highlighting the devastating consequences that blocking patients from care at Planned Parenthood would create for their communities.
During this past congressional recess week, Planned Parenthood supporters across the country spoke out at local town halls and rallies against dangerous legislation that would block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.
This bill would also restructure and slash federal funding for the Medicaid program, which low-income women and people of color disproportionately rely on to access essential care, including family planning services, pregnancy-related care, and other preventive and primary care.
The Facts on "Defunding" Planned Parenthood
FACT: The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the federal budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid and/or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider that’s been there for them for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funding from going to abortion services. This legislation instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular. According to an independent poll released in January, 70% of American voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood - including 50% of Trump voters. a February 2017 Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed 77% of Iowans back funding for Planned Parenthood’s preventive care, including 62% of Republicans and 62% of evangelical Christians. This goes along with 19 national polls that all show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood.
FACT: Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. This disproportionately impacts people who already face structural barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrants, young people, and members of the LGBTQ community -- with those whose identities overlap facing multiple barriers.
FACT: Support for Roe v. Wade is at the highest it’s ever been, with 7 out of 10 Americans saying they believe a woman should have the right to safe, legal abortion.
FACT: Other providers cannot just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patient base if it is cut off from federal programs. Politicians who want to deny patients using Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood often insist that other providers will fill the gap, but the experts at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Partnership for Women and Families said it flat out: They can't. Even the executive director of the American Public Health Association has called such claims “ludicrous.”
FACT: Legislation denying access to care at Planned Parenthood was a health disaster in Texas. Two Texas public health investigators wrote in the Washington Post that when Texas passed legislation it was devastating – and shouldn't be repeated in the rest of the country. A significant number of women also lost or had reduced access to primary care providers as a consequence of limiting patient options.
FACT: When lawmakers in Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida tried to block access to Planned Parenthood in the past, they suggested women could go to “alternative” providers for reproductive health care, including dentists, food banks, nursing homes, ENTs, elementary schools, rehabs, and retirement homes.
FACT: Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide preventive health care to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for care.
FACT: Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprised 10% of the country’s safety-net centers that offered family planning care in 2010, they served 36% of patients served by such centers. In 21 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood was the only safety-net family planning provider; and in 68 percent of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood served at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
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 approximately 700 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.