Pennsylvania Republicans will introduce legislation today to defund Planned Parenthood as the state joins four other states considering legislation that strips public funds from family planning services.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) will introduce the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act, a bill similar to one in Ohio that would put health care providers that offer abortion services at the bottom of the priority list for state funding. The bill is co-written with anti-abortion activist group the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund.
Supporters of the measure argue the bill is an “upgrade” for women’s health services because it directs money away from Planned Parenthood clinics and toward other kinds of hospitals and family clinics that don’t provide abortion care. Mallory Quigley, communications director for the SBA List offered this:
The emphasis is on comprehensive whole woman care, so instead of them going to Planned Parenthood to receive one type of service, they will now be going to qualified health clinics where they can get mammograms, treatment for hypertension and depression, dental care, all these things Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide,” Quigley said. All it is is an upgrade of women’s health care without any additional cost to the taxpayer.
Of course, to see that as an upgrade you need to divorce the reality that abortion is a fundamentally necessary procedure when providing comprehensive women’s health care.
One of the reasons Planned Parenthood clinics receive a significant percentage of their money through state and federal government funding streams is because a significant number of their clients are low-income women and families and those without insurance.
In the past our clients would qualify for services for free, but now we have to charge them a fee, said Jeff Teague, president of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. It’s put a burden on people, obviously. We’ve seen a ten percent decrease in patient numbers, and we’ve worked very closely with health department to see if they’ve seen a corresponding increase, and they have not. We have a serious concern that there are a number of women not receiving or delaying care, which is a bad situation either way.
I suppose it’s only a bad situation if you believe profiting off of illness and death is an acceptable business model.
Photo from fibonacciblue via flickr.