As we enter the first week of the new administration, Congress has made their number one priority diminishing access to health care. President Trump re-instated on his first day in office a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options that include abortion, through the Global Gag rule. There is a national attack on women’s health care.
However, do Congress and President Trump actually know what defunding Planned Parenthood means? It means low-income women eligible for Medicaid will no longer have access to basic preventive health care. This has nothing to do with abortion care as no federal money goes to abortion due to the Hyde Amendment.
This would have devastating effects in Virginia, especially among patients in rural areas and people of color that already face unequal barriers in accessing care. Planned Parenthood health centers are essential. They serve 2.5 million people each year. The majority of their care helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduces the spread of STIs through testing and treatment, and screens for cervical and other cancers. One in five women in this country will get care at a Planned Parenthood in her lifetime, and for many Planned Parenthood will be their only health care option.
Legislation that “defunds” Planned Parenthood specifically targets patients who rely on federal programs such as Medicaid or Title X — those who are already struggling — and instructs them that Planned Parenthood is no longer a viable option for their health care needs.
The Women's March on Washington proved that together our voices are more than loud enough to drown them out. We’re going to fight back. We will not back down but we will fight like hell to ensure that they do not take away our health care.
Trisha L. Lucero