In a move befitting a reality TV show president, the Republicans had their “big reveal” on Thursday, finally allowing the Top Secret healthcare bill to see the light of day. Not surprisingly, it includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood.
Despite the fact that abortion is legal in the United States, despite the fact that abortion services represent a tiny fraction of what Planned Parenthood does, and despite the fact that no Federal money is used for abortion, Republicans nevertheless decided that women’s health should take a backseat to partisan politics.
More pesky facts
- Operates over 600 health centers throughout the United States
- Is the largest provider of sex education in the United States
- Serves 2.4 million people each year
- Provides 1 in 5 women with healthcare services
- Provides 80% of their patients with birth control services
- Helps prevent an estimated 560,000 unintended pregnancies each year
- Provides 295,000 screenings for cervical cancer each year
- Provides 320,000 screenings for breast cancer each year
- Provides over 4 million tests and treatment services for STDs
- Provides more than 650,000 HIV tests
But never mind all that. The fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, which make up about 3% of all the services provided, means all the people served by Planned Parenthood, seeking all these other services that have nothing to do with abortion, will need to find those services elsewhere.
Just go somewhere else
Republicans would have us believe that finding reproductive services elsewhere is as simple as walking across the street. In many communities, that’s just not true. Without access to a Planned Parenthood clinic, many patients will have to drive long distances to find the services they need. In areas where other clinics are available, many of them are not prepared to take on large numbers of additional patients.
So what will happen?
One needn’t be any kind of expert to figure out what happens when access to birth control is limited or restricted. You’re going to have more pregnancies. And despite what the Republicans would like us to believe, abortions will not end because the local Planned Parenthood clinic closes up. Even outlawing abortion will not put an end to it. Desperate women will find a way to end a crisis pregnancy. The reasons are vast and varied, and require far more time and space to discuss than is appropriate in one blog post, but facts are stubborn things. A woman who needs to terminate her pregnancy will find a way to do it — legally, illegally, safely, or unsafely.
In addition, screenings and treatment for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and STDs will be harder to access. What will happen? More cancer and STDs going undetected and untreated.
Defunding Planned Parenthood will not stop abortion. By making birth control harder to obtain, Republicans are, in fact, voting for more abortions, because less birth control means more pregnancies, which will lead to more abortions. But, as usual, the only thing that matters to these (mostly) old white men is clinging to their ideology and keeping their jobs. They don’t give a damn about women and they sure don’t give a damn about babies. If they did, they wouldn’t turn their backs on those babies the moment they are no longer unborn.