Confirming our post-election fears, Congressional Republicans are wasting no time moving forward with plans to strip away health care coverage, starting with defunding Planned Parenthood.
Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that removing hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for Planned Parenthood would be part of a special fast-track bill to repeal Obamacare. The ironically titled “reconciliation” procedure allows legislation to bypass a Senate filibuster, so it would only need a simple majority of senators to pass instead of a 60-vote supermajority, The Washington Post reported.
In 2014, Planned Parenthood reported receiving $553 million in government funding. Should this Republican bill pass, the organization estimates that it would lose around 40 percent of its funding. A similar reconciliation bill passed both houses of Congress in 2015 but was ultimately vetoed by President Barack Obama. This time, Republicans are confident that President-elect Donald Trump will have no problem signing it into law.
For some context, Planned Parenthood provides services and information to 2.5 million people — yes, that includes some men — each year, and an estimated 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once. The organization estimates that it helps prevent around 579,000 unintended pregnancies each year.
The bottom line is that a drastic cut in federal funding for Planned Parenthood would essentially be a large-scale government-sanctioned experiment involving the lives of millions of nonconsenting women as subjects. Republicans are making no secret of the fact that they are willing to see what happens when wide-reaching women’s health treatment and prevention services are no longer accessible for many people.
The thing is, we already know the results of this experiment, and they are not positive. Taking away services like cancer screenings and birth control — resulting in more complicated cancer treatments down the line and increasing unplanned pregnancies — will only decrease the already relatively low standard of medical care in the United States. And because women’s lives have never really been a concern for Republicans, they should know that it will only end up costing more in the end.