On Friday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office sent six security guards to block the delivery of 87,000 petitions asking Ryan not to defund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood volunteers lined up to deliver the petitions to Ryan, but were met with security guards aiming to prevent the delivery. The group was instead welcomed by representative Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).
GOP lawmakers have announced their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), while also defunding Planned Parenthood at the same time.
“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan said in a press conference this week. The Republicans plan to use a fast-track budget procedure as a means to pass the bill without a supermajority, meaning Democrats cannot filibuster in the Senate.
Republicans have sought to defund Planned Parenthood for years, because along with the many women’s health and reproductive services it provides, it also performs abortions. However, the Hyde Amendment already prohibits any use of federal funding for abortions, except in very restricted cases.
Despite any shortcomings of Obamacare, it also provides some great advantages for women, including ensuring women are not charged more for insurance simply because of their gender, or denied coverage or charged more for pre-existing conditions, such as pregnancy.
Additionally, Obamacare covers a number of preventative services for women such as domestic violence counseling, FDA approved contraceptives, mammograms, and more.
Repealing Obamacare along with defunding Planned Parenthood would be a serious hit for women’s health and reproductive rights in America. The blow would be felt most by lower income women who depend on these services.
Planned Parenthood provides valuable services for many women, and one in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood location at least once in her life. Obamacare and Planned Parenthood currently work hand-in-hand to assist women in obtaining health services.
Obamacare also provides one free wellness exam per year. If a woman has to pay up to $100 for a copay to see her doctor to obtain free birth control or a free STI screening, those services no longer seem very free.
“This is a very important occasion where we’re pointing out very specifically what repeal of would mean to woman,” Nancy Pelosi said in response to the GOP's plans. While GOP lawmakers have been clear with their intent to repeal Obamacare, they have been less clear on their plan to replace it.
President-elect Donald Trump has flip-flopped on the issue, but has indicated that he would consider keeping parts of Obamacare intact.
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