I have just returned from the Planned Parenthood annual meeting in Washington DC and I am fired up!
President-elect Donald Trump has said that he would defund Planned Parenthood, revoke the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and appoint Supreme Court justices to roll back Roe v. Wade. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has attempted to shut down Planned Parenthood clinics as governor of Indiana and banned private insurance coverage for abortion, among many other attacks to women’s health.
Planned Parenthood supporters are fighting back. Of the 200,000 donations Planned Parenthood has received since the election, roughly 50,000 have been made in Mike Pence’s name.
Millions of families depend on Planned Parenthood to access their health care. In many cases, it’s their only choice. It’s been the most trusted provider of affordable family planning in the US for more than 100 years. Planned Parenthood also provides preventive health care like pap smears, breast and testicular cancer screening, and testing and treatment for STDs.
Many people are unaware that Planned Parenthood currently receives no federal or state funding for abortions. If the Trump and Pence have their way, defunding Planned Parenthood would damage all the other family planning services they provide.
It would also threaten the progress we’ve been making on teen pregnancy and abortion rates. Over the last five years, we have seen teen pregnancy rates decline by 9 percent and abortion rates decline by 12 percent in the US. If the Trump-Pence administration defunds Planned Parenthood and rolls back the Affordable Care Act, many women will not be able to afford the most effective birth control methods: the implant and the IUD. These methods are 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy and can remain in place from three to 12 years but can cost up to $800 and $1,000 respectively.
No group does more to reduce unintended pregnancy in the US than Planned Parenthood. Anyone who believes in providing women in our country with affordable high-quality reproductive health care — and who supports eliminating the need for abortion in the first place — should insist that Planned Parenthood remain funded.
The new administration did not get a mandate to take away affordable healthcare and reproductive health services. We can take action to ensure Planned Parenthood, and the families they care for, are protected:
* Call your senators and representatives (the Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121). Tell them you expect them to listen to the majority of the country who believe in a family’s right to affordable reproductive health care.
* Talk to your friends and family about how and why you support Planned Parenthood.
* Write an op-ed piece for your local paper. Here are some tips.
* Volunteer with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Visit the Planned Parenthood website to find out how else you can get involved. Together, we can defend the health of our communities.
Rachel’s Network Member Janet Miller is a trustee of the WestWind Foundation, which focuses on environmental programs and reproductive health and rights, primarily in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. These grants have supported NGOs that protect forested ecosystems, especially through habitat and watershed conservation.