Posted on April 4, 2017
CONTACT: Sari Stevens
State Measure Seeks to Defund Planned Parenthood in Pa.
S.B. 300 would deny women access to family planning, cancer screenings, wellness exams
HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 3, 2017) – With Republicans in Congress still reeling from their “Trumpcare” failure, which would have prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for providing services like contraception and cancer screenings to low-income patients, a Pennsylvania senator is launching his own state-based effort.
State Sen. John Eichelberger Jr. (R-Blair/Cumberland/Franklin) has introduced legislation (S.B. 300) that would attempt to “defund” Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania by targeting similar reimbursements provided by the state Department of Human Services. The measure, which has eight co-sponsors, all Republican, has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
“The intent of this bill is clear: to deny women access to lifesaving preventative care such as cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and wellness exams,” said Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. “With nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s medical centers in rural and underserved communities, this bill would be crippling to the patients who need care the most.”
Eichelberger’s legislation is just the latest attack on both women’s reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood, which has been a trusted health-care resource for 100 years.
In February, the state Senate fast-tracked a measure (S.B. 3) sponsored by state Sen. Michele Brooks (R-Mercer) that would criminalize the safest medical procedure for second trimester abortions and impose a 20-week abortion ban in the commonwealth. Substantively identical legislation has been re-introduced by state Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) and could receive a vote this spring.
After Congress failed in March to pass its proposed American Health Care Act, which would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and defunded Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Senate last week voted to undo an Obama administration rule that protected access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care for more than 4 million people, including over 210,000 Pennsylvanians — the third largest share of Title X patients in the nation.
Title X is the nation’s family planning program. The Obama administration’s rule ensured patients could access care at qualified health-care providers, including Planned Parenthood, and made clear that it is against the law for states to block people from accessing care at a health center because the organization also provides safe, legal abortion. The Senate vote repeals that rule.
“You don’t need any more evidence to see that women’s health care and reproductive rights are under attack at every level of government,” Stevens said. “The threat is real and unrelenting.”
Poll after poll shows that Pennsylvania voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. A recent national poll showed that 75 percent of Americans, including majorities of both Republican women and Republican men, support federal Medicaid reimbursement for Planned Parenthood.
“Our residents understand that any reduction in access to subsidized women’s health services will only lead to more unintended pregnancies, more untreated STDs, more undetected cancers and ultimately more costs to the state,” Stevens said. “But none of this is stopping some of our lawmakers from playing a high-stakes political game with women’s health and lives.”
Planned Parenthood’s health centers provide quality care to almost 90,000 women, men and young people every year.
ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD PENNSYLVANIA ADVOCATES
In partnership with the three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the state public affairs office in Harrisburg, works to achieve maximum public, governmental and media support for reproductive health care – including family planning – by developing, implementing and facilitating a statewide strategy.