While much of the focus on the newly unveiled GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is on the removal of the individual mandate, another key aspect of Americans' healthcare is also removed under the proposal: funding for Planned Parenthood. Some of the Republican proponents of the plan say gutting Planned Parenthood's funding is an effort to keep federal funds from abortion services, but that is ridiculous. Funding abortions is already illegal under federal law, through the Hyde Amendment.
Unfortunately, what defunding Planned Parenthood actually does is limit healthcare options for women, specifically poor women who already face difficulties receiving access to care. Planned Parenthood does so much more than abortions. Many people — not just women — rely on Planned Parenthood for all their healthcare needs.
This potential retreat on women's healthcare is all the more ironic given President Donald Trump's promises to treat women so, so well on the campaign. "I cherish women," Trump said during the primaries. "I want to help women. I'm going to be able to do things for women that no other candidate would be able to do, and it’s very important to me." How is shutting down the clinics where 2.5 million Americans seek healthcare services, the way to do that? Planned Parenthood told CNN that just 3 percent of their services are abortions. The other 97 percent of healthcare offered is something else. Here's what they offer:
1) Birth Control
The crazy thing is that barring Planned Parenthood from Medicaid would mean less birth control, more pregnancies, and MORE abortions. https://t.co/s6BDxQpJoo— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) February 22, 2017
Unintended pregnancies are actually way down. Like, way down. In 2016, the rates reached the lowest they had in 30 years. That's because of work that places like Planned Parenthood do, providing women birth control — for now, with no co-pay, thanks to Obamacare.
2) Emergency Contraception
After I was assaulted Planned Parenthood was there for me with STI testing and emergency contraception. They saved me #StandWithPP— Lesley Handel (@LesleyHandel) February 21, 2017
This is another way to keep abortion rates low, give women a place to go to get Plan B. They give out nearly 1.6 emergency contraception kits a year, many of which may prevent the need for an abortion.
Planned Parenthood is important for men too! For HIV testing and counseling, screening and treatment for STDS, & low cost vasectomies!— Kitty Kat (@Lady_Katlynn) January 25, 2017
Like I said, men go too. And some 3,700 of them get vasectomies — another great way to prevent abortion.
4) Pap Smears
Preventing cervical cancer can't be a bad thing. Right, GOP? Nearly half a million women rely on Planned Parenthood for this vital check.
5) STD Screening & Treatment
This is percentage-wise the most important service that Planned Parenthood offers. I myself have gotten tested at a rural office, where there's really nowhere else to go. Millions of Americans — more than 4 million — also need Planned Parenthood for such a vital service.
6) Breast Exams
Planned parenthood also gave me a FREE breast exam.— Kali Maa (@Mercurey_) January 22, 2017
Just like with a pap smear, this is vital: nearly half a million women receive breast exams from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood funds sexual health research projects. Check out their papers on a wide variety of subjects.
8) Sexual Education
Fact: Planned Parenthood has a birth control and period tracker app, which you can download here 👉🏻 https://t.co/6EMpE6WalK— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) March 3, 2017
Planned Parenthood staff provides sexual health education to about five million people a year throughout the world. And that's not all — they'll get creative, too, even making an app to reach people without proper sexual healthcare access and knowledge.
9) Family Practice Services
Planned Parenthood is recruiting PAs with a family practice background for our Clinician position. Learn more here: http://t.co/PDNnV90ced— ppsocalcareers (@ppsocalcareers) June 28, 2013
As in everything your general practitioner would see you for. Not all Planned Parenthoods offer this, but many do. They can be your primary care provider. Trump promised that no one would have to change their doctor. Well, if Planned Parenthood shuts down, that's not true, is it?
If these aren't reasons enough, I invite you check out Planned Parenthood's website. The resources they have save lives. Don't let Congress take away this vital service provider. Call your senators and reps today.