Hint: It’s not the old, rich, white men, trying to shut Planned Parenthood down.
Legislation to “defund” Planned Parenthood will hit people who rely on federal insurance and public health programs. That’s largely people who already face barriers to accessing health care as people with low incomes, people of color, people who live in rural areas — who make up the majority of Planned Parenthood’s patients. Meanwhile, the impact of “defunding” Planned Parenthood on people in the LGBT community and whose identities intersect would be particularly acute.
Impact of “Defund” on People With Low Incomes
With the aim of shutting Planned Parenthood down completely, national “defund” legislation would close health center doors to at least 60% of Planned Parenthood’s patients — those who use public programs like Medicaid (the government-funded insurance plan for people with low incomes) and Title X (the government-funded family planning program, which helps people with low incomes).
Of course, public programs are already prohibited from covering abortion. “Defunding” keeps people who use public programs from getting preventive reproductive and sexual health services like birth control, STD tests, breast cancer screenings, and family planning education at Planned Parenthood health centers. Many of these patients couldn’t get these services anywhere else — and, like we said, many of them are people with low incomes, people of color, and people who live in rural areas.
Impact of “Defund” on People of Color
People of color in the U.S. are less able to access quality health care due to the intersecting consequences of racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and other systemic barriers. So, they’re more likely to rely on federally funded programs to access health care.
Meanwhile, more than one third (35%) of Planned Parenthood patients are people of color.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood would be devastating to Black communities.
Of the 2.4 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood for health care every year, nearly 360,000 (15%) identify as Black.
Among nonelderly Americans on Medicaid, 11 million are Black.
If they were prevented from accessing Planned Parenthood, many Black patients would have no other place to go for the services Planned Parenthood provides.
This harmful legislation wouldn’t just keep Black patients from getting care – it would undermine their ability to obtain full reproductive freedom. Too often, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider many patients access. That means their care is more than just reproductive health services – Planned Parenthood connects patients with resources to improve other areas of their lives.
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood would be devastating to the Latino community.
Nearly 500,000 Latinos come to Planned Parenthood health centers annually (21% of Planned Parenthood’s patients).
Among the nonelderly Americans on Medicaid, 18 million are Latino.
If they were prevented from accessing Planned Parenthood, Latino patients may have no other place to go for the services it provides.
Planned Parenthood sees patients regardless of immigration status and is one of the only places undocumented people can turn to for care. Given that the majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are Latino, “defunding” legislation would have a disproportionate impact on them.
What’s more, “defunding” would put two crucial Planned Parenthood programs at risk of disappearing: Raíz, which helps Latinos access health care and sex education, and Promotores de Salud, which brings reproductive health education into Latino homes and community-gathering locations.
Impact of “Defund” on People in Rural Areas
If patients who rely on public programs are blocked from care at Planned Parenthood, many would have nowhere else to go. There simply aren't enough other reproductive health care providers out there. In areas where other providers do exist, many don't take patients who rely on public health programs. Key points:
21% of counties have no safety-net family planning alternative should their local Planned Parenthood health center close.
More than half of Planned Parenthood’s health centers are located in rural and underserved communities.
More than two thirds of states already report difficulty ensuring enough providers for Medicaid.
Providers of ob-gyn care who accept Medicaid, such as Planned Parenthood, are in particularly short supply.
Impact of “Defund” on the LGBTQ Community
“Defunding” Planned Parenthood also would negatively impact LGBTQ health. Members of the LGBT community face greater health challenges than their heterosexual peers because of stigma and discrimination. People in the LGBTQ community who also are people of color, or have low incomes, or who live in rural areas — or whose identities intersect — have even more obstacles to reproductive health services. For example, LGBTQ people of color face particularly high rates of discrimination from medical providers, and systemic harassment.
Planned Parenthood understands that LGBTQ people have the right to safe abortion services, access to contraceptives, STD testing and a range of other health services free from stigma, discrimination or coercion. Losing Planned Parenthood would lose this safe space for LGBTQ people seeking basic health care.
Say It Loud: #IStandWithPP
If anti-abortion politicians “defund” Planned Parenthood, shut down its health centers, and block its 2.4 million patients from care, a national health disaster would ensue — and the groups mentioned in this blog would be hurt the most. Take a stand against cutting them off from care. Take action to stand with Planned Parenthood and its patients!