House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated in an interview Jan. 12 that defunding Planned Parenthood would take place as part of repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). This would remove approximately $500 million in federal funding for women who might not otherwise have access to healthcare to receive medical treatment and exams.
Advocates of the organization are joining the campaign “I Stand with Planned Parenthood.” According to this campaign, 2.5 million people could potentially lose access to cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and more. The loss of funds would primarily affect 60 percent of patients who rely on Medicaid and Title X for healthcare services, including low-income households and rural communities. Approximately 650 Planned Parenthood centers across the nation provide essential services to women.
These changes would potentially happen alongside nationwide healthcare reform, which could result in 18 million people losing health insurance coverage without a foreseeable replacement for the ACA. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary of health and human services under the Obama administration, stated her concerns that the sudden repeal of the ACA without an alternative in place could send the insurance marketplace into chaos, drastically increase premiums and decrease enrollment. This would also remove some of the protections that the ACA has granted for patients with pre-existing conditions.
As a woman, and a human being, I feel that all people should have equal access to healthcare. There are many women who face life-threatening situations and have no other means by which to access healthcare beyond that which is offered to them through Planned Parenthood and the ACA. The educational and support services they offer are absolutely invaluable to many populations throughout the country. While this has been interpreted by many conservative politicians as exclusively a women’s issue, procedures and tests are also offered for men. For those who try to make it an issue of life, many mothers seek healthcare services at Planned Parenthood who otherwise might not be able to afford it. The proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood is very much an issue of relevance to everyone in this country.