Say Good-bye to Reproductive Health Care, Ladies

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Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Have you enjoyed your Planned Parenthood services? Liked being able to hit up PP for birth control or pelvic exams? Well, that all might be changing soon. A new bill up for vote in the House proposes cutting all federal funding to the health organization. In order to help slim the federal budget, the House is considering eliminating Title X — the $317 million in federal funding designated for family-planning services for low-income women. Planned Parenthood receives the largest portion of that funding, around $75 million.

The bill is expected to pass the House by this weekend, though it will face considerable challenges in the Senate. Some wonder, though, if it will be lost in the shuffle. Representative Diana DeGette (D-Col.), a pro-choice leader, fears that family planning could “get lost in the larger issue of the budget.”

Planned Parenthood has a total budget of around $1.1 billion — a third of which comes from federal, state, and local governments. None of that federal funding is permitted for use on abortion services, but it does support Planned Parenthood's reproductive health-care services.

According to Planned Parenthood president Cecile B. Richards, the cuts in funding would mean more "unintended pregnancies. Cancer would develop, undiagnosed, in countless women. There is no doubt: cutting off millions of women from care they have no other way to afford places them at risk of sickness and death." She went on to call it "the most dangerous legislative assault on women’s health in Planned Parenthood’s 95-year history.”

The proposed budget cuts come on the heels of a highly publicized attack on Planned Parenthood by pro-life group Live Action. Live Action videotaped people posed as sex traffickers of underage girls approaching various centers and inquiring about services. The videos were intended to show that Planned Parenthood employees were not acting in the best interests of the young women in question, and that the health centers were "complicit" in compromising the lives of vulnerable girls. Planned Parenthood maintains the tapes were misleading and heavily edited.

"What we do every day is prevent more unintended pregnancies than anyone else in the country,” said Judy Tabar, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “We have a huge impact on the lives of women and families.”

Planned Parenthood Funding Is Caught in Budget Feud [NYT]
Lawmakers see a timely target in Planned Parenthood [LAT]