A group of Youngstown State University students and staff attended the Women’s March on Washington that followed the inauguration of Donald Trump as the United States’ 45th president.
People marched for many different reasons including protecting the marginalized, minority communities and women’s rights. They also marched to raise awareness for the defunding of Planned Parenthood by republican lawmakers.
Planned Parenthood is often criticized by conservative politicians because half of its affiliates provide abortions, even though federal funding goes to the payment of STD testing, cancer screenings and family planning programs — not abortions.
The organization receives half of its funding from state, local and federal government sources that total $553.7 million in federal funding, according to a Planned Parenthood Annual Report from 2014 – 2015. This includes a Medicaid program that makes up 75 percent of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding and covers direct medical services to low-income patients.
Blocking funding from Medicaid could cause federal courts to get involved because federal laws allow eligible recipients, mostly low-income adults, to choose any qualified provider for health care services (including Planned Parenthood).
Texas learned in 2013 that defunding the organization creates a mess. That year, they cut Planned Parenthood out of its family planning program and gave up its Medicaid funding. An analysis done by the New England Journal of Health and Medicine showed that unintended pregnancies skyrocketed in the state since less women could afford birth control.
Making Planned Parenthood ineligible for Medicaid would also cost taxpayers $130 million over 10 years, according to a 2015 Congressional Budget Office analysis, because federal funds would have to cover costs related to increased pregnancies since birth control and abortions weren’t being provided.
Although defunding the organization could be complicated, it’s not impossible, and while former President Barack Obama has vetoed the proposal in the past, it’s uncertain how the new administration will handle it.
One can only hope that politicians wouldn’t allow their own religious beliefs to cause the downfall of an organization that helps millions of men and women in need of medical assistance, but only time will tell.
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