For the first time in history, the president of the United States has singled out an individual health care provider in his fiscal budget for 2018: Planned Parenthood. The budget, given the title "A New Foundation for American Greatness," prohibits the nonprofit as well as "certain entities that provide abortions" from receiving any federal health funding whatsoever under the Labor-Health and Human Services budget.
The move comes despite the existence of the Hyde Amendment, which already bars the use of federal funds towards abortion except to save the life of a woman, or in cases of rape or incest. If the budget is passed, the reproductive rights organization will be stripped of funding that was previously allocated to cancer screenings, Zika virus prevention, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, and numerous other health services that they provide one in five American women.
This morning, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, Dawn Laguens, released a statement calling the budget "the worst budget for women and women's health in a generation." In addition to the explicit attack on Planned Parenthood, the budget threatens women and families in myriad other ways: It will make drastic cuts to Medicaid, which currently covers half of all births in the US, as well as indirect cuts to Title X, a federal program dedicated to providing women with affordable birth control. Currently, Planned Parenthood is responsible for servicing 41 percent of Title X's contraceptive patients. If passed, the organization would be prohibited from participating in the program completely.
Following the release of Trump's new budget proposal, a number of health organizations and providers have publicly condemned the proposal, noting that it blatantly targets low income women in particular. "The president's budget indicates the priorities and values of his administration," said Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper, Advocacy Fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health. "My patients and their families will lose basic support services so that the wealthy can get tax breaks, and that is a shameful priority."
NARAL, a nonprofit pro-choice organization, released the following statement: "By gutting the programs that help the most vulnerable women and families, this so-called pro-life administration would make life unbearable for those most in need... Bottom line: We've never seen a budget so detrimental to women's lives."
Apart from women's health care, the proposed budget includes severe cuts to food stamps, student loans, and an astounding $72 billion in cuts to disability benefits. The money saved from these cuts will instead be allocated to military defense, Veterans Affairs, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.