The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a US federal agency, warned of the negative impact of defunding Planned Parenthood this month, a spokesperson for parent agency the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports.
The Center purportedly spoke with officials from Alabama and Louisiana, two states moving to take away funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, warning the officials that doing so “may illegally restrict beneficiary access to services.”
State Medicaid programs are federally mandated to cover family planning services for anyone of child-bearing age. According to HHS, closing Planned Parenthood clinics in Alabama and Louisiana may cut off access to these services, violating Medicaid law.
Planned Parenthood serves more clients of publicly funded family planning centers than any other provider in the country. 79 percent of Planned Parenthood health care patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Ending Planned Parenthood’s services would put women’s lives at risk, especially low-income women who would not be able to afford care elsewhere.
In states like Alabama and Louisiana, affordable family planning and access to these services is greatly needed. Almost one third of Alabama children live below the poverty line, and Louisiana is ranked 49th in the country in poverty rates.
Earlier this month, Senate democrats struck down a bill that would have prohibited all federal funding of Planned Parenthood. “Pure and simple, a public health crisis would be the result of this bill,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) remarked on the floor.
Already some Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), are threatening a government shutdown if Planned Parenthood is not defunded. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he was “absolutely confident that if Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood in a government spending bill at the end of September, Democrats will unite against it.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest has confirmed that President Obama would veto any bill to defund Planned Parenthood.
Media Resources: Reuters 8/12/15; Guttmacher Report; United States Census Bureau; Feminist Newswire 8/4/15; CNN 8/4/15; 8/3/15; RH Reality Check 7/31/15;