Today, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced in a press conference that the defunding of Planned Parenthood would be included in the republicans’ reconciliation bill.
This reconciliation bill, which emphasizes repealing Obamacare, is unlike a straight repeal, which requires 60 votes, a supermajority, to pass and allows the possibility of a filibuster. The reconciliation bill passes with 51 votes, a simple majority, and does not allow a filibuster.
There has always been much controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, which has become a staple in talk about abortion. The most recent “scandal” about Planned Parenthood happened in July 2015, when Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, released secretly recorded and heavily edited videos that showed Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetal body parts.
This provoked a solemn response from Ryan, who then pushed for a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I don’t think Planned Parenthood should get one red cent from the taxpayer. That’s been my position for a long time, even before I saw these gruesome videos,” Ryan said in 2015.
The 2015 bill passed in the House with 241 – 187 votes, but failed in the Senate with a vote of 53-46.
Despite the focus and ridicule on Planned Parenthood surrounding their abortion services, these services are only around three percent of what Planned Parenthood can provide for their patients.
From data in Planned Parenthood’s 2014 annual report, 45 percent of services were related to testing for and treating sexually transmitted infections. Thirty-one percent of inquiries were about contraception, 13 percent was listed as “Other Women’s Health Services,” seven percent of services were cancer screenings and tests, then finally, second to last on the list, abortion services make up three percent of the total services, right before “Other Services” at one percent.
If the bill passes, the organization would lose 43 percent of its overall funding, forcing them to close many of their 650 health centers that provide around 9.5 million services to their 2.5 million patients. Roughly 400,000 women would lose access to the care, starting with minority women of low socioeconomic class.
Ryan and republicans in Congress have not spoken about the other services that Planned Parenthood provides.
Democrats are standing against this step backwards in women’s rights. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the subject only hours after Ryan spoke the defunding.
“I just would like to speak individually to women across America: This is about respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs, the size and timing of your family or the rest, not to be determined by the insurance company or by the Republican ideological right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives,” Pelosi said.
– Cheryl Hao – Asst. Web Editor –