05Jun

What If Planned Parenthood Didn’t Exist?

Watch the above video. Filmed by Joss Whedon in support of Planned Parenthood. UNLOCKED highlights the vital role Planned Parenthood health centers play in the lives of millions of women in communities nationwide. This video follows three different women through critical moments in their lives—and brings to the forefront what the world would look like if attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood succeed. Most likely you will relate to one.

I have a few personal stories about Planned Parenthood. I grew up understanding its significance from a very young age. For one thing, my mother didn’t shy away from telling me about the organization. I was a late bloomer and had fairly normal periods, but I always knew it was a resource that I would need it one day. More than anything, my mother taught me that my body is my own, and no one can tell me what to do. The choice is my own. I grew up in the conservative South with deep pockets of anti-abortionists. I knew they were out there.

When I was in high school, around the age of 15, I befriended a much older girl while acting in a play in the the inner city of Atlanta. One day she told me she was pregnant and that she needed my mom’s help. It was a difficult time for my mom – hard decisions had to be made, but ultimately they would find their way to Planned Parenthood. That was the first time I truly understood the power of Planned Parenthood.

Later in college, when the time came for me to think about my own reproductivity and family planning, I went downtown to Atlanta to find out about my options. I remember quite clearly going into the waiting room and seeing women of all races, ages and economic backgrounds. I felt that I had entered a safe haven for women and girls and the broader scope and importance of Planned Parenthood really came to light.

It dawned on me then, and it dawns on me now, how very important Planned Parenthood truly is. Without it, so many women and girls would be in trouble. Without it, I would not have had control of my own reproductivity, and my friend would not have been able to make the difficult choice that she made – one that allowed her to live the life she felt she was put on earth to have.

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Did you know that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and advocate? Every year, 2.5 million women, men, and young people rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health care services, like birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings. Many of these people, particularly those in rural areas and medically underserved areas, will have nowhere else to turn to for care if Planned Parenthood health centers are forced to close their doors. Women should be able to choose their health care provider the same as politicians in Washington, DC. Despite false claims, community health centers simply cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. States like Texas and Wisconsin have suffered serious public health consequences when communities lost access to Planned Parenthood.

Why am I concerned? Because extreme politicians, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, want to shut down Planned Parenthood. One of their key tactics is to push legislation misleadingly named “defunding” Planned Parenthood — a cruel ploy that would punish women and hit people with low incomes, people living in rural communities, and people of color the hardest.

I’m a cancer survivor. Imagine if I relied on Planned Parenthood for my screening and it was no longer available? How horrible would that be – my children would no longer have a mother.

Here are a few things you need to know about these attacks on Planned Parenthood patients in Congress and the devastation they would wreak on women’s health care.

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Impact: If Congress shuts down Planned Parenthood

2.4 million people a year would lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and more.

History of Attacks Against Planned Parenthood

For years, backward politicians in Congress and statehouses across the country have attacked Planned Parenthood’s patients’ access to care — sometimes based on doctored videos, failed entrapments, and false accusations. See the decades-long fanatical crusade against Planned Parenthood.

What Americans Think About Planned Parenthood

The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose blocking access care at Planned Parenthood — 15 nationwide polls say so. Even 48% of Donald Trump’s supporters don’t want to see Planned Parenthood “defunded.” It’s no wonder that, in the weeks following the election, Planned Parenthood affiliates were flooded with new volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of individuals donated to Planned Parenthood to make sure access to health care is protected.

So, how do Americans feel now? They’re scared that with politicians like Mike Pence and Tom Price in power, it could mean disaster for their health care access. Case in point: Since the election, Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a surge in online appointments for birth control, with a nearly  10-fold increase in people seeking IUDs the week after the election.

The Danger of American Health Care Act (AHCA)

The so-called American Health Care Act (AHCA) is bad for women and would be disastrous for our nation as a whole. This bill would block people enrolled in Medicaid from accessing the services they rely on at Planned Parenthood health centers. If anti-abortion politicians have their way, they’ll not only “defund” Planned Parenthood but also shut down all of its health centers — leaving 2.5 million patients without a place to go for needed care.

The AHCA would also impose draconian restrictions on private insurance coverage for abortion; wrest Medicaid coverage from low-income women and their families; and impose greater costs on women’s basic reproductive health care, like maternity care and birth control. Congress should not be playing politics with women’s health.

The AHCA will coerce insurance plans to drop coverage of abortion because it will prohibit individuals from using their federal financial help to purchase a plan on or off the ACA Marketplace that covers abortion. At least 870,000 women will lose access to ACA Marketplace insurance plans that cover their full reproductive health care needs, including abortion, and millions more could lose access to abortion coverage in other plans given this provision extends outside of the Marketplace. Insurance plans, when not barred by state law, typically cover abortion. Women, no matter how much money they make or how they get health insurance — should be able to able to access the full-range of reproductive health care, including abortion and make their own decisions about pregnancy based on their own unique circumstances.

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But we can fight back. Here are four ways:

  • #1: Call Your Senators
    This is the most important way to take action right now. Use our easy online form to call your U.S. senators. We’ll give you a script so you can tell them to protect health care and stand with Planned Parenthood.

  • #2: Tag Your Senators on Facebook
    Do you notice when somebody tags you on Facebook? Chances are,  your answer is “yes” — and that goes for your senators, too. Our simple form automatically tags your senators and gives you time to edit the post.

  • #3: Tweet at Your Senators
    Every action counts  — even if it’s just a tweet. If you have Twitter, take a moment to tweet at your senators. Our easy-to-use form automatically finds your senators’ handles. It also gives you a sample tweet if you don’t want to write your own.

  • #4: Tweet Your Representative What You Think of Their Vote
    Read our list of representatives who voted in favor of this dangerous bill. If you see your House member, tell them you will not forget that they stripped access to care — and will not forgive. Use this hash tag: #StandWithPP.

Want more facts? Get them here:

Overview of services provided each year: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/planned-parenthood-at-a-glance

Fact checking politicians: https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/how-to-fact-check-politicians-on-planned-parenthood

4 groups that will be hurt the most by “defunding”: https://www.istandwithpp.org/defund-defined/4-groups-would-be-disproportionately-hurt

This post is made possible with support from the Mission List. All opinions are my own.

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