Once again, Planned Parenthood is in the crosshairs, and once again, those who support an organization that provides women, including many poor women, with a broad spectrum of health care – not just abortion and birth control — have to fight for its survival.
The latest front is the Republican-controlled House of Representatives’ replacement for the Affordable Care Act, which was unveiled just a few days ago. There’s much to criticize in it, but the provision that would prevent women from using Medicaid funding to get any health services at Planned Parenthood is, frankly, one of the most egregious.
In fact, given how much money is at stake, it’s a barely veiled attempt to curtail or shut down an organization that many people rely on but which has become a stalking horse for abortion opponents, who have spent the decades since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion trying to find ways to restrict or downright eliminate it, even though approximately 60 percent of Americans support the right of a woman to get an abortion in all or most cases.
Despite the talking points that many on the right repeat, federal tax money (and that includes Medicaid funding) by and large does not fund abortions, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, which passed in 1976, just three years after Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court.
What it does fund through Planned Parenthood is not only birth control – which helps prevent abortions – but also life-saving screenings and treatment.
But, under the draconian proposal just revealed, the only way that Planned Parenthood could save its funding would be to stop providing abortions, something that isn’t likely to occur.
Clearly, if Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding, that would be devastating for the 2.5 million American women and men who rely on its services, some of whom would certainly die without that crucial care.