Our beloved (insert sarcasm here) Speaker of the House, Representative Paul Ryan, is at it again, per usual. The Wisconsin Republican continues to lead the GOP push to “defund” Planned Parenthood (PP), given the organization’s abortion services. Many of the processes and terms relevant to the situation, however, have been simplified deceivingly and tossed around frivolously.
For one, given there is no specific cause in the federal budget outline allocating to PP, there is no such thing as “defunding” just Planned Parenthood. Instead, PP garners funding from federal reimbursements for the services it provides (via first asking the state level Medicaid and insurance programs, who then act as the agent to request federal funding: Again, PP doesn’t interact with any direct federal business or lexicon.)
And what exactly are their services? They span from birth control to STD tests to anemia tests; cholesterol and diabetes screening; flu vaccines and tetanus vaccines; education and help around quitting smoking; general physical exams for employment and athletics; and, yes – abortions, as well as many others.
While abortions only account for 3% of what PP provides to over 4.66 MILLION people a year, this low percentage cannot be used as a soothing mechanism for those who are against the organization. This, like all the other services PP provides, is vital to people who simply could not afford it elsewhere.
Defunding Planned Parenthood, in other words, simply and totally blocks the 2.5 million people who rely on PP for healthcare via publicly funded programs like Medicaid or Title X. In 20% of the counties where PP centers are located, they are the only health care provider to serve anyone who relies on safety-net providers. Stripping funding from healthcare resources, (as the GOP has already demonstrated its chilling drive to do so with a Senate vote of 51-48 to repeal Obamacare,) will rob millions of people, especially women, of the only quality healthcare provider that exists for them.
This is about women’s health, as well as all basic rights to healthcare. These GOP agendas are doing nothing but blocking millions of Americans from the services vital to their well-being and churning healthcare into an exclusionary privilege for the wealthy.
Prohibiting Planned Parenthood centers from the funding they require to operate will shut them down quickly – but it won’t stop the vilified ill of something like abortions: It will only make them unsafe, more expensive, and more risky. Seriously speaking, it will kill and harm more women, who will be left in a position to try alternate, dangerous, and unaffordable means.
On top of that, the GOP is cutting general welfare assistance – so in a crude sense, it is forcing groups of women to both have children and survive without proper support to those in need.
Since Texas state laws have moved toward prohibitive funding regarding PP services, 54% fewer patients in the state received care – and pregnancy-related deaths have DOUBLED. That consequence will grow only more dire if measures are put in place to threaten the over 50 PP centers across the nation.
This is an affront to the rights of not only women, but to anyone remotely seeking healthcare in this country.
Let Speaker Paul Ryan know that this measure is unacceptable to the millions of people who utilize Planned Parenthood services. Visit istandwithpp.org/call/speaker-ryan and let your voice be heard.