Planned Parenthood Provides Crucial Health Care
When I was in school, Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, was made available for young women ages 9 to 26. Although I qualified for the vaccine, my insurance would not cover it. Enter Planned Parenthood. I went to their clinic in Topsham to receive the vaccine, which they were able to provide to me at an affordable cost. As you may remember, the three shot vaccine series was nearly $400 without insurance. Without Planned Parenthood, I could not have received this vaccine and protected myself against the virus that causes 75 percent of cervical cancer cases.
This vaccine is one of the many health services Planned Parenthoods across the country provide. But the newly elected leaders in the House of Representatives do not see the value of such services. They have launched the most devastating legislative assault on women’s health care in American history: they want to eliminate all Title X family planning funds and all federal funds used by the more than 800 Planned Parenthood health centers across the country. Simply put, their legislative attack will cut off health care access to millions of women who need it the most—women like me.
Too many people think Planned Parenthood provides only abortion care. While many Planned Parenthood clinics do offer abortion services (the Topsham clinic I visited does not), more than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are for preventive care, like the cervical cancer vaccine I received, or cancer screenings and breast exams, or HIV testing. This is why about 1 in 4 women voters has received health care from a Planned Parenthood. In fact, sixty percent of women who receive health care from Planned Parenthood use Planned Parenthood as their primary health care provider.
This care saves lives — yet the new House leadership wants to end it.
The federal funds Planned Parenthood receives are for preventive care. The funding is from programs like Title X, which provides family planning services, Centers for Disease Control grants for cancer screenings, and Maternal and Child Health grants for prenatal health care. Stripping Planned Parenthood of these federal funds means that women across the country will lose access to basic primary and preventive health care. That means more women will go untreated, and there will be many more undetected cancers, discovered when it is too late to save women’s lives.
We need to send a message to the extreme House leadership and tell them to stop the assault on women’s health. They told us their number one priority was the economy and job creation, yet these proposals do nothing to improve the economy and will in fact result in job losses, not to mention the elimination of primary and preventive health care for millions of American women. Women’s lives should be worth more than political posturing.