The Hyde amendment, which restricts federal funding from being used to subsidize abortion costs, went into effect in 1977. Its purpose is to ensure that no taxpayer money goes to support abortions through Medicaid and similar programs, with the exception of when the mother’s life is endangered. Planned Parenthood is an organization that has provided women with sexual and reproductive health care for over 90 years. Many anti-abortion leaders like to think that abortion is all Planned Parenthood does, but in reality it is less than 3% of their business. What they actually do is provide basic health care to millions of women and men throughout the country.
Planned Parenthood provides standard gynecological care, cancer screenings, STD testing, and birth control access. They also do more than reproductive health; on XOJane.com writer Jessica talks about how because she doesn’t have health insurance Planned Parenthood is the only place she can get low cost antibiotics when she has a painful UTI. Unfortunately, conservative politicians don’t seem to care about ensuring their constituents get competent and reliable healthcare.
To date, five state governments have cut funding from Planned Parenthood and/or other reproductive health care providers. Wisconsin, Kansas, Indiana and North Carolina have all made direct cuts to Planned Parenthood. New Jersey, though not a direct hit to Planned Parenthood, cut 7.5 million from women’s health care initiatives from the state budget. This leaves women, and men, in these states with significantly fewer health care options. Planned Parenthood of Indiana filed a lawsuit to stop the defunding and until that trial is completed, a temporary injunction was granted to stop the defunding. Meanwhile at least two more states are working on defunding Planned Parenthood; both the Texas and New Hampshire legislations have bills in process that will cut funding from Planned Parenthood.
Tennessee seems to have at least tried to ensure basic reproductive health care is still provided to its residents. Legislators there passed a budget that cuts funding from Planned Parenthood and diverts those funds to county run health care facilities. Unfortunately, those local facilities say they do not have the ability to take on the full client load of Planned Parenthood; so many people will still lose access to a health care provider.
A group of conservative politicians has deemed Planned Parenthood as an evil incarnate because at some of their locations, they offer a legally protected service to some of their patients. Now women and men throughout the states are being deprived access to basic health care. Maybe it’s just me… but cutting funding to basic health care does not sound like a good way to get re-elected. Proving that theory is the state of New Jersey, it seems government officials there have realized their gaffe and are currently in talks to restore the 7.5 million cut from women’s health care. Apparently they realized women in the state like being able to go to a doctor. Let’s hope as other elections get closer, other state government follow suit.