Planned Parenthood president on GOP health care plan

As congressional committees debate the Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Planned Parenthood is addressing a provision that could cut federal funding for any organization that provides abortions. (Exceptions would include abortions after rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger.)

The provision would essentially defund Planned Parenthood, which receives $500 million in federal money, if it continues providing abortion services. While abortions make up only 3 percent of the organization’s services, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said “we just simply won’t turn our backs on American women.”

Richards made clear that the federal money, which she said are from Medicaid reimbursements for health care services, does not go towards abortion services.

“We work just like hospitals and other health care providers and what we get reimbursed for is not abortion because of course it’s not allowed under the federal government, but we’re reimbursed for breast cancer screenings, pap smears, birth control,” Richards said.

Planned Parenthood isn’t the only organization or clinic that provides abortions – some hospitals do as well – but Richards said Planned Parenthood is being “singled out” by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress.

“It’s definitely a war on women’s health care,” Richards said.

One in five women have been to Planned Parenthood, Richards said, and this will prevent women from accessing the health care provider of their choice.

“One thing I just think is important to recognize is half of our health centers are in medically underserved communities,” Richards said. “I was just in Paul Ryan’s own district. We have three health centers there. In one of those towns, in Racine, there is no other community health center. So the women I met with are patients said, ‘Where am I going to go for birth control? Where am I going to go for my annual exam?’”

Richards said she’s proud of Planned Parenthood’s work in helping reduce unintended and teenage pregnancies in America.

“We feel like it’s time to actually invest in that and do more of it rather than actually cut off the largest national women’s health care provider,” Richards said.