Sun. Feb 5th, 2023
    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Enlarge / Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

As Republican lawmakers eagerly prepare to scrap President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation, the Affordable Care Act, they have announced that they will also cut funding to Planned Parenthood in the process.

In a news conference Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) confirmed that “Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill” when asked about possible override. The appeasement bill is the budgetary tool Republicans plan to use to dismantle the ACA by a simple majority and without the potential for a filibuster. An outright repeal would require a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate, which the Republicans do not have. An outright retraction would also open up the possibility of a filibuster. (For more on how that process would work, check out Ars’ previous coverage of the matter.)

Republicans have long been protesting Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. A 2015 atonement bill drafted by Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, also debunked Planned Parenthood. That legislation passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed by President Obama.

Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. However, abortion providers may still receive federal funding to provide other health care services.

In 2014 (the most recent data available), Planned Parenthood received approximately $553 million in federal funding, representing approximately 43 percent of total funding. The organization operates more than 650 health centers across the country and serves approximately 2.5 million patients each year.

Despite abortion services drawing most of the attention, abortions make up only about three percent of Planned Parenthood’s work. Of the nearly 9.5 million services Planned Parenthood provided in 2014, 4.2 million (45 percent) of those services related to the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Thirty-one percent, or 2.9 million services, were for birth control. The rest was largely for pregnancy testing, cancer screening and other health services such as urinary tract infections and adoption referrals.

“Cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular and it would leave people across the country without care,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards said in a statement in response to Ryan’s comments.

The combination of Planned Parenthood’s discontinuation and ACA’s repeal is a double whammy for women, especially those on low incomes. With a repeal of the ACA, according to Planned Parenthood, 55 million women would lose access to no-copay preventive services, such as STI screening, Pap testing and cancer screening.

Republican leaders are expected to introduce and pass the ACA dismantling, Planned Parenthood defunding bill as early as next month. However, lawmakers have yet to come up with a replacement for the legislation, which could leave the healthcare industry in years of uncertainty and/or cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.

By akfire1

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