Planned Parenthood Federation of America is now facing some of the toughest legislation of its history.
The United States House of Representatives has voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and other care in attempt to decrease the abortion rate.
Republican Mike Pence, Representative of Indiana and the author of the amendment, says that PPFA could end up losing more than $70 million in annual funding. Depending on how the Senate votes, PPFA may be forced to close or cut services across the country.
“Look, if folks want to be in the business of providing abortions, they ought not to be the recipients of federal taxpayer dollars,” Pence said. Pence says that the amendment will save taxpayers nearly $350 million a year.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the amendment “radically out of step with mainstream American values” and requested that the Senate restore their financial support. The organization’s statement said “ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider is what mainstream Americans want and expect from the United States Senate.”
PPFA began in 1916 when Margaret Sanger, along with her sister and a friend, opened America’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y. Sanger then founded the American Birth Control League in 1921, which in 1942 became part of the PPFA. PPFA operates more than 800 clinics and health centers across the country, serving more than 3 million men, women and teens a year.
“We’ve been here for the past 95 years, and we’ll be here for the next 95,” Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards said.
In a press release dated Feb. 18, 2011, PPFA said, “the amendment to cut PPFA off from federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit; it does nothing to improve the economy. In fact, health professionals will actually lose their jobs as a result, and, most egregiously, it takes health care away from American women who cannot afford to pay for it on their own.”
The Title X Family Planning program was passed in 1970 with the goal of providing people with family planning and preventative health services. PPFA is the largest recipient of Title X funds, gaining $317 million dollars each year. The money is used to help individuals access affordable birth control, STD testing and treatment, sex education, breast and cervical cancer screenings, vasectomies for men and annual exams.
“For people who claim they want to lower the abortion rate, this is probably the worst way to go about it,” Planned Parenthood Spokesperson of SE Virginia Erin Zabel said. “If you take away women’s ability to get birth control there will be more unplanned pregnancies.”