Let’s talk semantics for a minute. The word “defund,” in the conversation around Planned Parenthood, is hugely deceptive and the Trump cabinet is capitalizing on it.
Monday March 6, The New York Times quoted Trump as saying, “Polling shows the majority of Americans oppose public funding for abortion, even those who identify as pro-choice. There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.” Trump’s comments are more tempered than those of Pence, who in his 2011 offensive against the organization said, “We should end the day when the largest abortion provider is the largest recipient of [Title X] federal funding.” It was part of a larger argument about following the money to stop abortion. While less aggressively anti-Planned Parenthood than Pence, Trump’s rhetoric is dangerously misleading.
The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding comes form Medicaid reimbursements for preventative care. They get some funding through Title X, which provides funding for family planning services including well-woman exams, cervical and breast screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for STIs. To be clear: there is no source of federal funding allotted for Planned Parenthood. Defunding Planned Parenthood does not mean reversing some lump sum that is handed over; instead, it means blocking patients on Medicaid or other public healthcare programs form receiving care through the organization.
Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, countered on Monday, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept. Providing critical health care services for millions of American women is nonnegotiable.”
Top image via Shae Merritt
Diagram via Planned Parenthood
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Miriam Mosher graduated from Smith College before moving to New York where she is a writer by day and beer maven by night. She is a proud feminist, a champion of the semicolon and an avid thrifter. See more from Miriam at Bushwick Daily and Two Cities Literary Review.