The Republican-proposed health care bill that's intended to replace the American Health Care Act (AHCA), is threatening to impede many women's access to healthcare by cutting all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. To be clear, the government does not directly fund Planned Parenthood, but the group does get money from the government by way of Medicaid and Title IX funds, which add up to about $500 million every year. Now, Planned Parenthood is fighting back against Republicans and organizing a strategic campaign to pack a one-two punch against Donald Trump and breast cancer.
In an effort to highlight all that Planned Parenthood does with its range of health care services, the organization is launching an ad campaign — and they're following John Oliver's lead. With a specific emphasis on its breast cancer screenings, the Planned Parenthood advertisements will air on the stations during the shows that Donald Trump is known to live-tweet and make references to, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, Fox News' Fox & Friends, and other programs in West Palm Beach, Florida markets, since the president will be in Mar-a-Lago, according to Politico.
All told, the campaign will cost about a million dollars, but that could be money well spent. The ad Planned Parenthood intends to run replays the president himself explaining how important the services are to women. "Millions and millions of women, cervical cancer, breast cancer, are helped by Planned Parenthood," Trump is heard saying. "One of the candidates, I won't mention names, said, 'we're not going to spend that kind of money on Women's Health Issues' — I am!"
And the ad doesn't just aim to protect Planned Parenthood. They've teamed up with Cancer Survivors Network to highlight the importance of the almost century-old organization in protecting women from cancer.
There's a good reason why Parenthood is focusing so much on its breast cancer screening services in these advertisements. The nonprofit has often been painted as primarily providing abortion services, which in turn has made it a target of pro-life attacks. In fact, the Trump administration has tried to negotiate with Planned Parenthood by using women's reproductive rights as the bargaining chip. The White House floated the idea (albeit not in any official proposal) that Planned Parenthood could keep federal funds if it stopped performing abortions.
There are two key issues. 1) Only about three percent of Planned Parenthood's services are abortion-related, according to the organization. 2) It is already prohibited for Planned Parenthood to use its federal funds towards abortion services. If the government does defund Planned Parenthood, it will people who rely on Planned Parenthood for its vast majority of services that have nothing to do with abortion that could suffer the most.
Specifically those seeking breast cancer screenings could be some of the most vulnerable if the government defunds Planned Parenthood. According to the organization, it performs an estimated 360,000 breast exams annually — oh, and also almost five million people worldwide are provided with sexual and reproductive health care, education, and outreach by Planned Parenthood in a single year.
With their federal funds on the line, Planned Parenthood's best strategy may be to remind Americans — including President Trump — of the myriad health services it offers, the ones that could be the most damaged by defunding.