Planned Parenthood first opened their doors in 1916 and was shut down nine days later. The founder, Margaret Sanger, was arrested for violating the Comstock obscenity laws. Today, politicians are speaking of shutting down Planned Parenthood by stoping the federal funds that are supporting this organization.
Planned Parenthood first gained federal funding in 1970 when President Richard Nixon signed into Title X Family Planning Program to amend the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program focused on providing family planning and preventive health services. According to the Government Accountability Office Report from last March, Planned Parenthood centers across the U.S. served over 2.8 million people in 2014.
Gracie Vial, a twenty-one year old who has visited the Planned Parenthood in Oregon City, Oregon, talks about her thoughts after visiting the center, “Planned parenthood is a good place to go to if you are under 18, as well as over 18. I am over 18, but I still go there because I do not feel judged. I can walk in and get what I need without having to answer unnecessary questions.”
Planned Parenthood received $553 million of government funding last year according to their 2015 annual report.
Since 43 percent of Planned Parenthood’s $1.3 billion total revenue came from the government last year, the organization would face financial trouble if they were defunded.
Photo from Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 Annual Report
These $553 million come from one of two places, Medicaid or Title X. Medicaid provides healthcare to low-income people, and is one of the largest payers for health care coverage in the United States, according to their website. Many of Planned Parenthood’s clients are lower-income and 79 percent of them live at 150 percent of the federal poverty level or lower, according to the Government Accountability Office Report from last March. Also, 83 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clients were 20 years old or older in the year 2014. Medicaid accounts for 75 percent of funding, while Title X is 10 percent, the Guttmacher Institute stated.
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Title X is a federal family planning program who’s “clinics have played a critical role in ensuring access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals and others.” The Title X program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population (OPA).
“OPA [Office of Population Affairs] funds a network of nearly 4,200 family planning centers which serve about 4.5 million clients a year,” according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Title X program is not allowed to use federal funds for abortions, while Medicaid sometimes does permit this. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Government money will only be spent on abortions in rare cases, such as, life endangerment, rape, and incest. The Hyde Amendment from 1977 prohibits abortions by federal funds, except for cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger, the bill states.
According to research by the Guttmacher Institute in February 2016, 32 states provide abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. One state, South Dakota, is in violation of the federal standard by only providing abortions in cases of life endangerment. This research also reports there are 17 states that will perform abortions if they are necessary for medial purposes. If the federal funds will not cover the individual’s case, then the state will.
People using Medicaid would still have access to Planned Parenthood services, even if federal funding was stopped.
But, It will become more expensive for the individual states to pay for these services without the help of government funding.
The Medicaid website says, states will be reimbursed 90 percent from federal funds for family planning services. Even though politicians have voiced strong opinions and plans on defunding Planned Parenthood, the states would still have money separate from federal funding to spend as they wish.
The family planning centers and services will be provided by either state, county, local health departments, Planned Parenthood centers, and school-based, faith-based, or other private nonprofit centers.
Medicaid uses both state and federal funds, while Title X is made up of solely federal funds.
Reproductive rights are an important issue in the 2016 election, according to Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
“Let’s be clear — reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016. It is unthinkable that our daughters and granddaughters would have fewer rights than my generation did, yet every single GOP candidate for president wants to erase decades of progress for women — pledging to cut access to Planned Parenthood, ban safe, legal abortion, and block health insurance coverage for birth control,” Richards said in a press release in January 2016.
The most recent attempt to defund Planned Parenthood was composed by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch in the bill, S.1881. This bill was introduced in July 2015, but failed on the August 3rd 2015 vote, according to the Senate. The latest motion was by Senator McConnell to reconsider the vote, but this was also rejected.
This bill is to stop federal funding to Planned Parenthood. It states, “Many such entities provide services to all persons, regardless of the person’s ability to pay, and provide services in medically underserved areas and to medically underserved populations,” according to Congress.
The bill also says the Planned Parenthood federal funds will be redirected to other entities to continue providing women with health care services. Some fear these other centers will become too busy and people with lower incomes will not be able to obtain the services they need.
Florida Governor and Republican Presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, discussed defunding Planned Parenthood at the Republican Presidential Debate on September 16, 2015.
“So I defunded Planned Parenthood, we created a climate where parental notification took place. We were the only state to fund crisis pregnancy centers, we were totally focused on this and i would bring that philosophy to Washington D.C.,” Bush said.
Bush continues, “Here is a solution to this. Title Ten of the HAS funding, there was something called the Reagan Rule. It was passed in 1988, and it was defined and the courts approved this, that a Planned Parenthood, you couldn’t separate the money between the actual abortion procedures and there are 330,000 abortions that take place in this clinic and their promotion of it. He interpreted the right way, the courts ruled in his favor and planned parenthood did not get finding during the time until President Clinton came in.”
Not everyone agrees with this plan or mentality.
“If Planned Parenthood was shut down, less people would go to the doctor to get contraceptives or be tested for sexually transmitted infections. They would not use these precautions, but they would make the same decisions. There would be many more unplanned pregnancies without the help of Planned Parenthood.” Vial said.
The Planed Parenthood Medical Services Data from the 2014-2015 annual report states the highest percentage of individuals services performed at Planned Parenthood was testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections at 45%. Contraceptive services followed at 31%, and other women’s health issues were the reason 13% of people came in. Cancer screening and prevention was 7%, while 3% of services were abortions.
Photo from Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 Annual Report
Critics have mentioned that this is a false statistic because there are not as many abortions, but this service is where most of their revenue comes from. Planned Parenthood denies this this claim in the Planned Parenthood Services document.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “The typical American woman wants to have two children; to accomplish that goal, she will spend close to three years pregnant, postpartum or attempting to become pregnant and about three decades trying to avoid pregnancy.”
If a new bill is created and passed to stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood centers, it will become more expensive to use these services. States will still be able to spend money on these services for people with Medicaid, but it will become more expensive without the help of federal funding.