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What Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Mean for Women’s Health

Delivering a brutal but acquainted menace to Planned Parenthood on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan declared that Congress would move to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. “The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our [repeal] bill,” Ryan advised reporters throughout his press convention.

His announcement got here a day after a House panel convened by Republican majority management made the recommendation that Planned Parenthood be denied federal funding vis-à-vis Medicaid reimbursements and federal household planning packages.

Although Ryan had not but provided specifics about what a defunding measure would seem like, many assume it might tackle the same structure as when Republicans in Congress last tried this move during budget proceedings in the fall of 2015, which just about resulted in a authorities shutdown. At that point, Republicans proposed that each one federal funding for contraception and women’s preventive health care providers be denied to any health care supplier who additionally supplies abortion care.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, was fast to reply with a press release. “Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care,” she stated. “Two and a half million women, men, and young people come through our doors every year for lifesaving care like cancer screenings, birth control, and STI and STD tests, and they cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and we’re going to be here for 100 more. Women and men in this country won’t let politicians like Paul Ryan and Mike Pence take us back decades.”

Richards continued, “It’s likely no accident that this attack was launched the day after Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a longtime opponent of Planned Parenthood, held a closed-door meeting with Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership. Now that their plan is clear, Planned Parenthood, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the one in five women who have come to Planned Parenthood, the entire public health establishment, and the millions of supporters across the country are ready to defend care with everything we’ve got.”

“Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and we’re going to be here for 100 more,” stated Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, in response to Ryan. (Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post by way of Getty Images)

Melanie Israel, a analysis affiliate on the conservative public coverage assume tank the Heritage Foundation and an professional on the anti-abortion motion and public coverage, discovered Ryan’s announcement “exciting” and “very encouraging,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.

“Of course, we don’t have the precise language to take a look at but, however working underneath the idea that the language would be the similar as final yr’s invoice and thus exclude Planned Parenthood from Medicaid reimbursement whereas growing funding for different group health facilities, that may be a one-two punch of funding for women’s health — and not for Planned Parenthood,” Israel says.

Israel explains that, in her opinion, there isn’t any danger for present Medicaid sufferers dropping entry to health care providers ought to Planned Parenthood be eradicated as a Medicaid supplier.

“There’s where increased funding for other health centers comes in,” she says. “Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) outnumber Planned Parenthood 20 to one. … The argument that Planned Parenthood is the only option for most women just doesn’t hold up. Other health centers outnumber them, and now they will get increased funding.”

But Planned Parenthood performs a essential position in offering entry to primary preventive, well-woman, and family-planning providers that many Americans would in any other case lack entry to. A 2015 analysis achieved on the time of the final try at federal defunding discovered that in two-thirds of the 491 counties during which they’re situated, Planned Parenthood facilities serve a minimum of half of all women acquiring contraceptive care from safety-net health providers. It additionally confirmed that in one-fifth of the counties during which they’re situated, Planned Parenthood websites are the only safety-net household planning middle.

Which is why many Planned Parenthood proponents name the argument that there are many various suppliers a hole one — as elevated funding to these facilities does nothing to assist those that stay in an space the place no such middle exists.

Still, Israel emphasizes that defunding Planned Parenthood might solely imply eliminating the group as a Medicaid supplier, however not as a supplier of household planning providers by means of Title X, the federally funded family-planning program. A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute found that Planned Parenthood disproportionately serves Title X patients relative to different types of Title X-funded facilities like FQHCs.

“We’re not talking about closing Planned Parenthood across the country,” Israel says, “but just ending Medicaid reimbursement for them for one year.”

But Staci Fox, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, asks, “How can anybody be sure that there shall be suppliers to see Medicaid sufferers when the reimbursement charges don’t even cowl the prices?” She tells Yahoo Beauty that denying reimbursement for Medicaid providers from Planned Parenthood suppliers means “particularly eliminating Planned Parenthood as a supplier selection for preventive health care for 2.5 million Americans — lots of whom could have no different place to go for care as a result of different suppliers both don’t exist of their communities or can’t take up the affected person quantity.”

In March 2016, when Florida lawmakers proposed eliminating Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid supplier of their state, the list of FQHCs Republicans provided as proof of suppliers prepared to soak up these sufferers included dentists, elementary school health clinics, and podiatrists.

The results of defunding Planned Parenthood have been studied on a restricted scale in Texas, which eradicated Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid supplier in 2013 and carried out a state program for low-income women’s health care, the Texas Women’s Health Program. And already, analysis on the fallout, including a study published in the New England Journal of Medicinehas proven that the use of contraception has decreased, whereas unintended pregnancies have elevated within the state.

It’s why so many women’s health care specialists and advocates are particularly troubled by Ryan’s announcement — and about linking it so particularly to the deliberate Republican repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tells Yahoo Beauty that Ryan’s assertion “is a textbook case of GOP overreach. When the vast majority of Americans voted for Democrats in the Senate and the White House, when even Trump voters have expressed surprise since the election to hear that cutting health care and defunding Planned Parenthood are under consideration, this speaker has no mandate.”

Ryan’s place “is the height of hypocrisy,” Hogue continues. “You can’t declare to be for saving Americans cash and go after the $1.4 billion in savings for women resulting from contraception protection. You can’t oppose abortion providers after which take away the instruments which have helped hold unintended being pregnant at an all time low. Last I checked, Planned Parenthood’s approval ratings were far higher than these of Speaker Ryan’s Congress, so he greatest proceed with care.”

Further, Israel factors to the debunked “sting” videos produced by the anti-choice activist group the Center for Medical Progress as the important thing cause why such defunding is so needed.

“The videos released in 2015 were absolutely disturbing,” she says. “And for a lot of people across the country, it makes them think, ‘Wait a minute — are these my values? Is this the kind of organization I should be sending limited taxpayer dollars to when there are other entities out there that I could be sending them to that are not entangled in this? … Those videos sent renewed excitement in the pro-life movement to speak out and confidently say, ‘Here is another reason why we need to make sure that taxpayer money doesn’t go toward abortion services.’”

Because of the Hyde Amendment, handed in 1976, no federal funding of any kind may be used for abortion care, making abortion the one medical process to be banned from Medicaid protection. But, Israel insists, “Money is always flexible — and entangling tax dollars with abortion in any way is not acceptable.”

Still, notes Fox, via its myriad health providers, “Planned Parenthood does extra to stop abortions than any single group on this nation.”

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