Protect Planned Parenthood


House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier this month that Republicans would move to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, part of a broader effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, much to the chagrin of pro-choice advocates.

The defunding measure would take away roughly $400 million in Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood health centers in the year after its enactment, and would result in roughly 400,000 women losing access to care, according to the Associated Press.

President Donald Trump could sign legislation that Congress is expected to pass next month, and a number of Republicans said they would support defunding Planned Parenthood because, they believe, federal dollars should not be used to pay for abortions.

Here’s the thing: They aren’t. By law, federal funds cannot go to abortions. That is, in part, why any effort to defund Planned Parenthood would amount to nothing more than a misguided political witch hunt.

Moreover, the consequences of such a shortsighted move would be disastrous, particularly for low-income and minority patients—including many in the Bronx—who rely on a broad range of the services offered by Planned Parenthood’s south Bronx clinic.

No doubt, Planned Parenthood has been a frequent and easy target of anti-choice advocates in their longstanding attempt to limit a woman’s right to choose. The organization, however, provides an array of reproductive and health services that have nothing to do with abortions. In fact, abortions account for only 3 percent of the nonprofit’s total services.

If enacted, the cuts would mean that thousands of men and women would lose access to services ranging from screenings for sexually transmitted diseases like HIV to gynecological exams to pregnancy tests to prenatal care. That would be unacceptable.

Public funding, including Medicaid reimbursements, accounted for about $15 million of Planned Parenthood of New York City’s $48 million budget in 2015. GOP lawmakers, bolstered by Trump, are targeting that funding stream. If PPNYC were to lose even half of that, it would mean an immediate 15-percent reduction in its budget.

If PPNYC were to lose all of its federal funding—including Title X, a grant that funds planning services for those who don’t have insurance or cannot afford to pay for certain care — the organization’s budget would be hit so hard it could result in the loss of preventive care services that range from breast cancer screenings to pap smears.

More than six in 10 women who obtained care at a publicly funded health center that provides contraceptive services—like Planned Parenthood—considered the center their usual source of medical care, according to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute last year. So, while women may come in for one reason, they come back for other services.

Without Planned Parenthood and other affiliated organizations, the rates of unintended pregnancies (including teen pregnancies), unplanned births and abortions in the U.S. might have been nearly 70 percent higher in 2014, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

According to PPNYC, the organization goes far beyond dealing with immediate health needs, for instance, offering programs and workshops for Bronx teens dealing with sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy prevention, which it says has resulted in a substantial decrease in teen pregnancy rates.

In 2015, PPNYC involved 676 parents and caregivers in adult role model workshops and had more than 1,000 professionals and staff members involved in training programs and partnerships with community organizations and more than 8,000 teen and adult participants throughout the city.

According to Planned Parenthood, its health centers prevent at least 579,000 unintended pregnancies a year. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office projects that barring Planned Parenthood from being reimbursed through Medicaid would result in a net cost of $130 million to taxpayers over 10 years because of an increase in unintended pregnancies without the high-quality contraceptive care that Planned Parenthood provides.

Planned Parenthood has never turned women away. Without federal support, however, that might not be the case in the near future. Tell your congressional representatives to support this vital organization.

Let your congressional representatives know that they must not defund Planned Parenthood.


Sen. Charles Schumer (D)

757 Third Ave., Suite 1702
New York, N.Y. 10017
(212) 486-4430
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6542


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
780 Third Ave., Suite 2601
New York, N.Y. 10017
(212) 688-6262
478 Russell Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-4451


Rep. Eliot Engel (D)
3655 Johnson Ave.
Bronx, N.Y. 10463
(718) 796-9700
2462 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2464


Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D)
163 W. 125 St.
Harlem State Office Building
New York, N.Y. 10027
(212) 663-3900
1600 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-4365