On Saturday, thousands of women’s rights supporters, including activists from the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) gathered in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to protest the defunding of PPFA and the elimination of Title X funding.
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated, “There’s no question the new Republican leadership has just shown they have no concern for women’s health care and are willing to score political points with their base at the expense of women by passing the Pence amendment to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”
Meghan Shalvoy, a National Campus Organizer at the Feminist Majority Foundation who attended the event, stated, “The gathering of activists this weekend in New York City and all across the country demanding access to comprehensive, affordable reproductive health care demonstrated a strong commitment to women’s health.”
Late last week, House Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), voted to prohibit any federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, even in reimbursement for services rendered. In spite of statements that the Pence amendment would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions, such spending is already prohibited. Even payments that are akin to insurance reimbursements will be prohibited, including reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for services provided through Medicaid for low-income women’s health care, gynecological exams, HIV testing, contraceptives, and other critical services. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country conduct over one million cervical cancer screenings and 830,000 breast exams yearly. Its clinics also provide contraception to approximately 2.5 million women per year.
The Continuing Resolution would also eliminate all of Title X funding, the only federal family planning program dedicated solely to reproductive health. Title X has provided reproductive health services to millions of women yearly.