On February 18, the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) that would eliminate all federal funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization uses non-federal dollars to provide women with abortion care. If that makes little sense to you, you’re in good company. In USA Today yesterday, DeWayne Wickham called this attack on Planned Parenthood “foolish,” and today’s Boston Globe warned Congress: “Don’t Politicize Women’s Health.”
This past Saturday, the ACLU and New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) joined with other organizations for a rally supporting Planned Parenthood and opposing the Pence amendment. The ACLU and NYCLU oppose the Pence amendment because it would undermine women’s access to basic health care services, would disproportionately impact low-income women and raises serious constitutional concerns because it penalizes an organization for using its own, non-federal funds to provide abortions.
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To make matters worse, the Pence amendment is only one part of the House’s attack on health care for women: the Continuing Resolution, which Pence’s amendment is attached to, also includes a provision that would eliminate all funding for Title X, the National Family Planning Program. Recipients of Title X funding, like Planned Parenthood, are among the most experienced providers of comprehensive reproductive health care in their communities, and provide family planning services, including counseling, contraceptives, education, and preventive health screenings, to both women and men who are otherwise unable to afford these basic health care services. In fact, Title X is the only federal program devoted solely to providing family planning services nationwide and is also the sole entry point for many low-income individuals into the health care system. Other bills in the House, including the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the so-called Protect Life Act, also take aim at women’s health.
You can support Planned Parenthood too by sending a message to your senator telling him or her to stand up for women’s health. And while you’re at it, take a look at how your representative voted on the Pence amendment with our congressional scorecard.