The Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill will make it harder for women to access important health benefits such as birth control and maternity coverage, critics say.
As currently written, the measure, which was drafted by 13 male senators, would defund Planned Parenthood for a year as well as dramatically cut Medicaid, a healthcare programme for low-income Americans that pays for nearly half of all births in the US.
Currently, about 75% of the public dollars spent on family planning are Medicaid dollars.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, clinic-based providers such as Planned Parenthood are important sources of family planning services. A 2013 health survey found that one in three low-income women obtained birth control from a family planning clinic.
A decrease in Medicaid dollars for family planning services could lead to a rise in unexpected pregnancies among low-income women.
“If this is the Senate’s idea of a bill with heart, then the women of America should have fear struck in theirs,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a statement.
“Slashing Medicaid and blocking millions of women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood is beyond heartless. One in five women in this country rely on Planned Parenthood for care. They will not stay silent as politicians vote to take away their care and their rights.”
The safety-net provider delivers a wide range of reproductive health services and cancer screenings to more than 2.5 million women, Kaiser reported.
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Many Republicans have long been vehement opponents of Planned Parenthood, which also provides abortion services, and have repeatedly attempted to prevent federal funds from going to the provider. Donald Trump has also vowed to defund it.
While the Senate bill does not specifically mention Planned Parenthood, it states that groups primarily engaged in family planning…