By Heather Saltz
Planned Parenthood is often thought of as an organization that provides women with options for terminating pregnancy. Although this is true, Planned Parenthood also provides other services related to women’s reproductive healthcare. Planned Parenthood clinics, which are located throughout the nation, provide a wide range of healthcare services including preventative primary care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment and screening for cervical and other cancers according to their website plannedparenthood.org.
President Trump is pro-life, with certain exceptions in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk, according to Business Insider. Trump, along with the majority of Republicans in the Senate and the House, plans on passing a bill that would stop Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding. Vice President Mike Pence attended The March for Life, a rally protesting abortions, on Jan. 27 to address the Trump administration’s anti-abortion policies. The vice president said that the administration’s focus will be on finding a conservative Supreme Court justice and ending taxpayer-funded abortion, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The uncertainty of the future of Planned Parenthood, among other issues, brought out large numbers of participants for the Women’s March on Jan. 21.
Federal funding plays a major role
There is a common misconception that Planned Parenthood is specifically mentioned within the federal budget. In fact, the health clinic receives most of its funding through programs such as Medicaid and Title X, according to plannedparenthoodaction.org. So the question is, if Planned Parenthood were to experience a cut in funding, what are some of the possible repercussions?
“We have some idea of what will happen based on the experience in Texas where legislators slashed the budgets for family planning clinics in 2011,” Phyllis Coleman, professor in the NSU College of Law, said. “While all the data has not yet been analyzed, I believe there is a correlation between withdrawing the funds and the fact that Texas now has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.”
If federal funding is discontinued, the clinic will still receive money from other sources. The Washington Post reported that about $650 million in funding comes from non-governmental sources, private donors and fees charged for the clinic’s services. Even with this extra funding, it is still unclear as to where it will leave the organization since federal dollars are the main source of funding for the nationwide clinics.
Why it matters
According to the Hill, a political newspaper, the funding cut would affect one in six women who are enrolled in Medicaid, which amounts to millions around the nation.
Many individuals might have a certain perception of the typical patient who visits the clinic. However, Planned Parenthood serves people from a broad economic spectrum. Whether or not you personally seek the assistance provided by a Planned Parenthood health center, it is likely, according to the statistics, that you know someone who does.
Planned Parenthood is just one of the proposed changes that may take place early on in the Trump presidency. Whether you support these changes or are opposed to them, it is important to be informed about what is taking place.