Every year, Planned Parenthood provides contraceptive services to nearly three million Americans. That’s in addition to the 3.5 million tests for sexually transmitted infections they perform, the 650,000 HIV tests they run, the 290,000 Pap smears they take, and the more than 320,000 breast exams they perform. For some people, getting that care allows them to live healthy lives, despite underlying conditions that affect their reproductive systems. For 200,000 people, it means their STIs are diagnosed, and they can get the care they need. For more than 70,000 women, it means their breast cancer or other abnormalities are detected early — which is critical for their survival. And every year, that contraceptive care prevents 579,000 unintended pregnancies — 197,000 of which would have ended in abortion.
To defund Planned Parenthood is to cut off lifesaving — and abortion-preventing — care for millions of Americans nationwide. In fact, the best way to reduce the need for abortion is to reduce unplanned pregnancy, and Planned Parenthood does that better than anyone. In more than 20% of counties where Planned Parenthood health centers are located, they are the only place where women can access publicly-funded contraceptive care. In more than half of the states, at least a quarter of patients relying on publicly-funded health clinics for contraception are served by Planned Parenthood — and in seven states, it’s more than half. If Planned Parenthood were to shut down, 2.5 million Americans would lose access to care — and other providers don’t have the bandwidth to fill that gap. In order to treat just the contraceptive patients currently served by Planned Parenthood, other safety-net providers would have to increase their patient load by an average of 47% — and in some states by more than 200%.
My state of Texas' illogical war on Planned Parenthood has driven a rise in both unplanned pregnancy and abortion: 54% fewer patients received care, there was a 35% decline in the number of women using the most effective forms of birth control, and there was a 27% increase in pregnancy among women who rely on Medicaid.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that excluding Planned Parenthood from Medicaid on the federal level would cost taxpayers $130 million over the next decade due to an increase in unintended pregnancies.
And that makes no sense unless you're exploiting your voters instead of serving them.