After several months of teasing the idea, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed Thursday that the GOP will defund Planned Parenthood as part of their effort to dismantle the current health care law. The nonprofit organization currently receives federal funding and provides women with birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and various other health services.
“The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our (repeal) bill,” he said during a news conference on Capitol Hill. His comments have since sparked outrage from Democrats.
According to AP, defunding the organization would take away nearly $400 million in Medicaid money from PP in the year after enactment and would result in 400,000 women losing access to health care. While Republicans said they would redirect that funding to community health centers, supporters of Planned Parenthood say women denied Medicaid services from the organization may not be able to find adequate replacement care.
“Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “They cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and we’re going to be here for 100 more.”
Despite it being a long-sought after dream for many conservatives, the decision to defund PP could turn off moderate Republicans. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, has already voiced concern.
“There’s a group of House Republicans led by (Rep.) Charlie Dent (R-PA) who are opposed to the defunding of Planned Parenthood in the bill, and I hope they’ll be successful in separating the two issues or knocking it out all together,” Collins told reporters Thursday.
The senator previously voted against the last major effort to repeal Obamacare in 2015 because Planned Parenthood defunding was included. However, those who side with stripping PP of federal money are most concerned with abortion, claiming that finances indirectly support such procedures.
“A lot of the ongoing support in the structural finances for Planned Parenthood goes to build the buildings, the infrastructure that provides abortion,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, voiced a similar sentiment in a written statement. “Vulnerable pro-abortion Democratic senators need to do a serious gut check, especially following the 2016 election outcome, and decide if they will stand with their constituents and women’s health care or continue to funnel money to big abortion.”
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