I’m getting fired up to catch an early bus (4:45 am!) with friends tomorrow morning to join the historic Women’s March on Washington. There are so many causes threatened by the incoming Trump administration – religious freedom, the environment, healthcare access, economic inequality – I could carry a dozen signs if I had the arms of Krishna. But, being human, I will be carrying two signs in support of Planned Parenthood, which offers crucial healthcare services especially to poor and young women across the country. One in five American women uses Planned Parenthood, which operates close to 700 health centers in the United States. The low-cost, easy-access birth control that Planned Parenthood offers is crucial for gender equality. Women must be able to reliably and easily control their pregnancies in order to have control over their careers. Abortion opponents exaggerate the role of abortion in Planned Parenthood’s services. In 2014, for example, only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s service visits were for abortions. Over 76% were for contraception (including vasectomies!) and STI/STD testing with the remainder for cancer screenings and other health services. Revenue from government insurance plans and grants was $553 million, which is about half of the organization’s total income. What impact would defunding have? First, recognize that already government insurance plans do not offer any reimbursement for abortions. This procedure is excluded from government plans according to the so-called “Hyde Amendment.” So, defunding wouldn’t actually prevent taxpayers from paying for abortions. That, unfortunately, is already the rule of the land. Defunding would immediately eliminate half of Planned Parenthood’s revenues, crippling the organization and ripping away necessary health care services – contraception, STI/STD testing, cancer screening and other reproductive health services – from women who receive their health insurance through the federal government. Congressional Budget Office reports have shown there would actually be a cost to the government of defunding Planned Parenthood in part because other community health providers are not able to absorb all the patients that would be left without services. To my mind, defunding is an act of injustice that hits hardest against poor women. I stand with Planned Parenthood. I’ll be picking up one of these signs at CAIR, too!
#Istandwithpp #CAIR #womensmarch