The House’s Obamacare Repeal Bill Would 'Defund' Planned Parenthood. Here’s The Truth About What That Means.

This week, the House will mark up a bill that would decimate the Affordable Care Act and could leave millions of Americans uninsured. As if that weren’t destructive enough, it also contains language that would “defund” Planned Parenthood health centers. Taken together, these two actions would devastate access to health care generally, and reproductive health care in particular.

The way some anti-choice members of Congress talk about it, you’d think that there’s a line item for Planned Parenthood in the federal budget every year. But that's not true. In fact, Planned Parenthood health centers operate like any other health care provider: They serve patients and are reimbursed by insurance companies for the care that they provide. Because Planned Parenthood is a key safety-net provider serving many low-income women, men, and young people, many of the patients they serve are insured through the federal Medicaid program.

So what would it actually mean to “defund” Planned Parenthood?

The reality is that Congress is considering legislation that would block patients who qualify for Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood health centers. That’s right — this bill specifically targets low-income patients by prohibiting them from accessing services like birth control, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment at the Planned Parenthood health centers they trust. Seventy-five percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level — just $12,060 for an individual — and more than half of Planned Parenthood’s 650 health centers are located in rural or medically underserved areas.

We know what this is really about. Anti-choice members of Congress want to restrict access to abortion in any way they can. They want to punish Planned Parenthood for providing safe, legal abortion services and are even telling angry constituents at home that they want to defund Planned Parenthood to stop taxpayer funding of abortion.

But there’s a pretty big problem with that: It doesn't work that way.

Federal dollars can’t be used to pay for abortions — except in very limited circumstances — as a result of the Hyde Amendment. This is a harmful, discriminatory policy that should be eliminated, and pro-choice champions in Congress have introduced a bill to do just that. Nevertheless, Hyde remains in place for now, so the claim that defunding Planned Parenthood would stop taxpayers from funding abortion is a hollow one.

The truth is anti-choice Members of Congress want to force Planned Parenthood health centers to close their doors — even if it means closing the doors on millions of low-income people who rely on Planned Parenthood for cervical cancer screenings, tests and treatment for HIV and other STIs, and birth control. These lifesaving preventive services make up the vast majority of what Planned Parenthood does.

And while Planned Parenthood’s opponents claim that patients can just go elsewhere, the fact is that other providers simply cannot fill the void that would be left in many communities if Planned Parenthood health centers close. We’ve seen how this plays out at the state level.

We know what this is really about. Anti-choice members of Congress want to restrict access to abortion in any way they can.

When Texas cut family planning funding in 2011 in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, the results were disastrous for women in the state. Last month, a Texas court blocked the state from cutting off Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood, which would have limited patient options even further. And it’s not just Texas. States across the country have attempted to block patient access to Planned Parenthood health centers, including in Florida, Missouri, and Iowa.

We can’t let this happen nationwide.

So the next time you hear Congress talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, you’ll know the truth: that they want to cut off access to the affordable, high-quality care that Planned Parenthood provides to over 2 million people every year.

And if you stand with the millions who rely on that care, call your senators and representative and let them know you’ll hold them accountable for their vote.

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Ann

I think a few of the anonymous commenters are confused. Reread the article. Yes, some PP centers provide abortion services but not every single one does. All PP centers provide health care for women, which includes annual exams, sti testing, birth control and other things. Some PP centers are in rural areas where choice is limited. Please read the article and process what you read. Try to walk a mile in someone else's shoes before jumping on them. If you don't want an abortion do not have one but leave someone who choose to alone. And if you don't want your taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions then get ready to pony up those dollars later and longer because that fetus/baby is gonna need your money for education health care day care and everything else to make it in today's world.

Anonymous

Melissa, random person on the internet it actually isn't illegal to put a comment on the internet saying that you don't support barbaric baby killing.
The reality is that funding Planned Parenthood is essentially funding abortion. They get $500 million a year from the government, and they spend that money on non-abortion services that usually come with getting an abortion so that they can say that they "provide a wide range of healthcare for women" when really in 2016 96% of women who received any services from Planned Parenthood got an abortion from PP. They spend all of their money that doesn't come from the government on abortion, so essentially if they didn't get funded by the government, they would have less money to spend on abortion. Also, the founder of PP, Margaret Saenger, openly talked about building more PP centers in low-income, majority black areas, and pretty much targeting young poor black women the same way the tobacco industry targets poor black people today so that they could profit off of them and lead these women to believe that abortion is the only option. You are no patriot yourself to question someone else's patriotism and love of country simply because they disagree with you, as America was founded as a marketplace for differing ideas, open debates, and free speech.

Anonymous

Can you provide reference for the claim that 96% of women who receive services from PP got an abortion from PP?

Anonymous

Please list all of your sources before you make wild accusations.

Anonymous

Yeah other places may offer those services but can a large percentage of people who relied on FREE services that PP provided even afford those other places?? Ummm...my guess is no...they cannot..speaking from personal experience. For me, PP provided me with free birth control so I won't get pregnant and I can continue my college education, they caught when my cheating ex-boyfriend gave me BOTH chlamydia and herpes AND gave me FREE medicine for both me AND that jerk, PP also caught my sister's cancerous cell's in her cervix BEFORE it had a chance to spread, AND they are still checking her periodically to ensure it does not develop into cervical cancer. So yeah I think PP provides SO much more than just abortions..

Anonymous

PP does not apply 3% to abortions. The majority of what they do are abortions. Only 7 centers have offered mammograms - but if you call PP they offer NO prenatal care. We were told on the phone regarding prenatal: "we don't do that here" and they compare an abortion cost as the "smart choice" instead of keeping your child. They commit 300,000 abortions a year. Your article is BOGUS.

Anonymous

Maybe in your area. But in mine, most oby/gyn clinics refer women to planned Parenthood to receive services they can't provide, such as a blood pregnancy test, or STD screenings. And above all, you have no right to say they fund and pay for abortions. Especially in California, it is extremely difficult to get an abortion for free, much less covered by insurance. There's such strict guidelines to how the money is used. They ask for donations from patients who want the confidentiality, or are unable to afford. No donation, no service.

Josie

I'm going to start calling and emailing my legislators (pro-life) every time I get my period. I will complain and request that they make the cramps stop, they want to have all the say in regards to what happens to my body, I will give it to them. I can call and ask to change my tampon.
If you are Pro-life I expect that you have adopted and/or fostered many unwanted pregnancies...it should be a mandate.

Anonymous

Stop PP as it is killing innocent babies. If u want to open ur legs make sure u took birth control pills or some kind of birth control. It's not far to kill an innocent baby because of ur stupid mistake. If u don't want the baby give them up for adoption but don't kill them.

Anonymous

What about the cases of an ectopic pregnancy? What do we do then? Or if the woman just simply cannot handle the road of pregnancy without physical damage? It's not that black and white

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