House Speaker Paul Ryan has stated, with much support from his party, that Republicans are planning to cut government funding to Planned Parenthood once the Affordable Care Act has been replaced.
Democrats have fought this goal intensely, and a national campaign launched by Planned Parenthood is dedicated to keeping Republicans in Congress from passing legislation to “defund” the organization. The half a million dollars provided to Planned Parenthood through the federal government every year goes to a variety of services, and this is primarily the source of conflict. Republican views on Planned Parenthood are deeply rooted in their objection to abortions, and the possibility that these federal funds are going towards what their party considers to be murder.
Planned Parenthood Funding
Planned Parenthood health centers attend to over 2.5 million people every year, two-thirds of whom are on public programs such as Medicaid to pay for their healthcare. Democrats argue that coupling the budget cut to Planned Parenthood with the reversal of the ACA means that these individuals may not have insurance by the time the organization is defunded. However, Republicans plan to replace the ACA, not simply repeal it, so there is nothing to say that those who use Planned Parenthood would have nowhere else to turn.
Republicans also do not object to Planned Parenthood’s existence. If it were to become a privately funded group, they would not hinder its business. They simply object to the use of government funds for something that is so controversial.
Planned Parenthood and Abortions
The Hyde Amendment makes the use of Medicaid illegal to pay for an abortion except for cases of incest, rape, or if the mother’s health is in danger. The use of the government funding to Planned Parenthood to provide abortions sits much the same way with today’s Republicans as the thought of Medicaid being used to fund abortions did with their predecessors.
The largest argument against the defunding of Planned Parenthood is whether or not it will curb abortions. Much of the care provided by Planned Parenthood is for STD testing, birth control, and cancer screenings. Kelley Robinson, Planned Parenthood’s deputy national organizing director said that one in five women will visit the organization in their lifetimes, thus defunding it would be a national health disaster. “The outpouring of need is so, so clear,” Robinson told Business Insider. “People need access to Planned Parenthood. We’re a part of their community, and we’re a critical provider of health care.” While Republicans do not deny the benefits Planned Parenthood provides to women by offering these services, there is no knowing which services the half a million dollars of taxpayer money is going towards.
Donald Trump on Planned Parenthood
While the war rages on the home front regarding Planned Parenthood and abortion, President Trump has also started to take it overseas. On January 1st of 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring federal funds from organizations endorsing abortion all over the world. This includes the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and marks the first major pro-life action by the president during his time in office.
Known as the Global Gag Rule or the Mexico City Policy, this policy was first utilized by Ronald Reagan’s administration. The policy bars federal funds from going to organizations that execute abortions overseas or to foreign organizations lobbying for the legalization of abortion in other countries.
“American taxpayer dollars have many good uses, but paying for elective abortions overseas is not and never has been one of them. The president has done the right and logical thing in reinstating a policy that never should have been rescinded.” Steven H. Aden, senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, stated.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation stated that it will continue to encourage abortion around the world and forfeit the $100 million it gets from the U.S. government annually, stating, “We cannot — and will not — deny life-saving services to the world’s poorest women. We will work with governments and donors to bridge the funding and service gaps the Global Gag Rule creates. We will ensure that women can exercise their rights and access safe abortion and family planning.”
A bill which makes it easier for individual states to defund Planned Parenthood is also on the docket for Trump’s administrations. Vice President Pence was the tie-breaking vote to get this bill passed. It allows states to dismiss federal funding to family planning clinics such as the Planned Parenthood. The bill reverses President Barack Obama’s effort to shield Planned Parenthood’s funding from state legislatures before his terms ended.
- Republicans Take Upper Hand in Fight to Defund Planned Parenthood – Time
- Trump signs executive order defunding International Planned Parenthood – Washington Times
- Planned Parenthood Defunding Prompts an Outcry – The Charger Account
- Fact Check: How Does Planned Parenthood Spend That Government Money? – NPR
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