The Senate is trying to jam through a bill that would block millions of women from getting care at Planned Parenthood, including birth control and life-saving cancer screenings. Today, Axios reported that a draft of the so-called "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act would include only five things, two of which are directly aimed at blocking millions of patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers: "defunding" Planned Parenthood for one year and increasing funding for community health centers (CHCs) instead.
The simple fact is that blocking millions from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood would result in more undetected cancers and more unintended pregnancies. Beyond blocking people from coming to Planned Parenthood, the "skinny repeal" would have a devastating impact on healthcare in this country. It would increase premiums by 20 percent and lead to 16 million more people without insurance coverage.
The cruel irony is that Republicans are selling the "skinny repeal" as giving individuals more choice and freedom, while the Planned Parenthood provision would deny women the choice or freedom to go to the provider they trust. And at the center of this debate is a lot of misinformation about the work Planned Parenthood does and the impact that so-called "defunding" could have on patients.
If you're inspired to act after reading this, the most important thing to do is call your senators and ask them to reject any and all efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood. Really, it's easy. And it's urgent. Just click here.
No, community health centers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood patients.
Repeating a myth over and over doesn't make it true. Yet House Speaker Paul Ryan and other anti-Planned Parenthood politicians falsely claim that publicly funded community health centers (CHCs) could pick up the slack if Planned Parenthood were shut down. Don't believe a word of it.
Studies consistently show that "defunding" Planned Parenthood health centers would result in millions losing access to health care. Experts have repeatedly maintained that other providers cannot absorb the patients Planned Parenthood now serves.
Fact: Americans overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood.
Simply put: The American people do not want to see reduced health care access. Twenty recent national polls show overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood and strong, bipartisan opposition to legislative efforts to deny patients critical care.
For the majority of Americans, this is not a political issue —it's about access to their trusted health care provider. That's no surprise considering one in five women have relied on Planned Parenthood for care.
No, Planned Parenthood does not use taxpayer money for abortion.
Federal law (the Hyde Amendment) already prohibits government funding for abortion—with very few exceptions. This is an unfair law that Planned Parenthood does not agree with. But Planned Parenthood obeys all laws, including this one.
Instead, efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood would block women from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment—critical preventive care that many people cannot get elsewhere.
Fact: There is no "line item" in the federal budget for Planned Parenthood.
The term "defunding" is a misnomer. Planned Parenthood is not a line item in the budget and does not get a blank check from the government. Planned Parenthood receives Medicaid reimbursements—just like hospitals and other health care organizations—for providing preventive care.
Instead, efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood would prohibit anyone that relies on public health programs (like Medicaid and Title X) from getting their care at Planned Parenthood health centers. At least 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients rely on these programs to access care, and most of those patients use Medicaid.
No, "defunding" Planned Parenthood will not save money.
Blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood would do immediate harm to women's health and their economic security.
And this political attack makes no fiscal sense for America: Every public dollar spent on family planning services saves the government an estimated $7.09 in state and federal dollars. In fact, blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood could cost taxpayers $130 million over 10 years.
Click here to call your Senators and ask them to reject "defunding" of Planned Parenthood.
Dawn Laguens is executive vice president and chief experience officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.