If you’re seeing a flood of pink on your social media, it’s because Planned Parenthood is holding a Pink Out Day today. It’s an opportunity for supporters to show their solidarity with the embattled women’s healthcare provider. There are many ways to participate in Planned Parenthood’s Pink Out Day, from updating your social media profiles to wearing — you guessed it — the color pink.
The American Healthcare Act, which would have defunded Planned Parenthood, may have failed last week, but the fight for women’s healthcare is far from over, with many conservative lawmakers at the state and federal levels still regarding Planned Parenthood as a key target. Vice President Mike Pence, for example, has been a major opponent to the organization for years, having authored the first bill to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011; as governor, he also worked to close Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana.
As the Planned Parenthood website points out, the word “defund” in this context can be misleading, and with so many conservative lawmakers using “Defund Planned Parenthood” as a rallying cry, it’s essential that people fully understand what that means. Defunding Planned Parenthood does not mean canceling federal funds set aside to go to Planned Parenthood, nor does it mean cutting off funds for abortion. Planned Parenthood receives federal money in the form of insurance coverage for services rendered — not as a lump sum — and it is already illegal for federal money to go toward abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother) because of the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976.
When lawmakers talk about “defunding Planned Parenthood,” what they’re really talking about is barring Planned Parenthood from accessing funds from insurance programs like Medicaid and Title X, programs intended to service low-income patients. Planned Parenthood reports that about 60 percent of its patients rely on these programs for access to healthcare. When Planned Parenthood provides these patients with health services, like cancer screenings and STI screenings (again, NOT abortion), it bills these governmental insurance programs, just like any other healthcare provider.
Medicaid reimbursements make up 43 percent of the organization’s revenue. Cutting off Planned Parenthood’s access to Medicaid reimbursements would thus remove a huge portion of its income — and in the process, cut off access to Planned Parenthood for the millions of patients who rely on Medicaid for coverage. And, despite what some politicians say, these women can’t simply go to other clinics for care. Of the 491 counties across the nation that have Planned Parenthood clinics, 103 of them have Planned Parenthood as the only clinic in the county that will provide contraception to patients on Medicaid. So to tell these patients that they can’t go to Planned Parenthood is to tell them that they can’t access contraceptive healthcare in their counties at all. And that is bad for communities: Research has shown that areas with a high prevalence of Planned Parenthood clinics have lower rates of teen pregnancy and STI diagnoses than areas where Planned Parenthood is scarce.
This is all a way of saying that Planned Parenthood needs its supporters to make themselves heard. A recent poll found that 74 percent of Americans oppose defunding Planned Parenthood — that’s a lot of people whose views are not being represented by lawmakers’ attempts to cut off funding to the organization. Here’s how you can participate in Planned Parenthood’s Pink Out Day and show your support for women’s access to healthcare:
1. #PinkOut your profile.
2. Wear Pink.
ON WEDNESDAYS WE WEAR PINK, y’all.
3. #PinkOut on social media.
Put on your favorite pink outfit, snap a selfie, and tell your followers why you support Planned Parenthood.
4. Tell your elected officials that you stand with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood even has a handy website to help you call your senators.
Every dollar counts. Donating to Planned Parenthood — even a small amount — is a simple way to say that you care about patients’ continued access to contraception, reproductive services, and preventative healthcare.