The other week we laid out Obama’s budget plan for you, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has its own proposal for cutting the deficit. Last Friday, the Republicans passed a bill in the House, by a vote of 240 to 185, to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
The budget proposes to cut the estimated $75 million Planned Parenthood currently receives from federal funds. The organization also receives state and local funding, but federal funding cuts would be crippling to the organization. These proposed cuts have ignited debate and protests around the country on both sides.
If this bill stays intact through the Senate and is signed into law, Planned Parenthood would lose all federal funding now and in the future.
Why Is Planned Parenthood Being Targeted?
The organization is a leader in contraceptive and family planning services, operating 800 clinics across the country. Though the majority of their services consist of screenings for STDs, HIV and cancer, as well as providing contraceptives, pregnancy tests, counseling and education, they also provide abortions, making it a target of conservatives looking for ways to cut the budget.
While Planned Parenthood claims it doesn’t use federal funds to pay for abortions, the association is there. To add fuel to the fire, an organization called Live Action, started by a student, paid actors to go undercover into Planned Parenthood clinics with cameras, capturing footage of a supposed pimp and prostitute engaged in human trafficking and receiving services (you can see the footage here and here). While some dispute their authenticity, these controversial videos have been circulating and the allegedly illegal activity shown has been cited by Republicans as justification to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
Why Should You Care?
How defunding Planned Parenthood could affect you:
- If you don’t have insurance, you may have to pay for a doctor’s visit to receive a prescription for birth control and pay full price at the pharmacy for it.
- Be careful! Without easily available screenings, counseling and treatment, the transmission of STDs and HIV may rise.
- Your daughter, niece, or younger cousin (and her boyfriend) may lose a free place to receive counseling, birth control, and testing.
- If you are low income and/or without insurance, you may have to pay the full price of STD screenings, which can cost $85 to $220 for each type. That doesn’t include the cost of the doctor’s visit, which can be another $200.
- You will have to visit a private practice for prenatal health care and, if you don’t have insurance, pay full price.
- Depending on the location, you may lose access to free or reduced cost general services like anemia testing, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, physical exams, flu vaccines, help with quitting smoking, high blood pressure screening, tetanus vaccines, and thyroid screening.
- If you are an OB/GYN, your number of patients may increase.
Your opinion matters. If you feel strongly about this issue either way, let the Senate know before it goes to vote. Email your senator.