With a transition of power in the White House, conservative values are being translated into bills that could impact millions of Americans if they become law.
On January 24th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted and passed H.R.7, a bill prohibiting the use of taxpayer money on abortions. Cited as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017”, the bill will take the already instated Hyde Amendment (which has prevented taxpayer-funded abortions since 1976) a step further, prohibiting abortion from being covered on health plans under the Affordable Care Act.
If enacted, H.R.7 will prevent health clinics that are owned or operated by the federal government, along with doctors who are employed by the federal government, from providing the service of abortion. The only cases this bill does not apply to are abortions in cases of rape, incest, or preservation of the mother’s life, as long as it is approved by a physician.
Clinics like Planned Parenthood are not owned or operated by the federal government; however, they do receive funding from it. Planned Parenthood receives their funding through reimbursements from Medicaid, a government-funded health program.
According to Planned Parenthood’s website, “Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood’s doctors and nurses for the preventive medical services they provide, including life-saving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and birth control.” Services covered by Medicare do not include abortion, unless they are rape, incest, or life-saving cases.
Medicare reimbursements are not the only government funding that the clinic receives. 22% of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from Title X, a family planning fund for women at or below the poverty level, enacted under President Nixon in 1970. Title X funds can only be used for family planning and preventative health services, which does not include abortion.
So what does the passing of H.R.7 mean for Planned Parenthood? Because the clinic is not owned or operated by the federal government, the service will continue to be offered. However, women who rely on the Affordable Care Act for health insurance may not be able to afford the service if the bill becomes law.
Non-abortion services provided by the clinic will not be affected by this specific bill. H.R.7 will not “defund” Planned Parenthood; it only applies to the service of abortion. Services such as women’s and men’s health care, birth control, and STD services will continue to be offered and reimbursed by federal programs such as Medicaid.
The Bend Health Center, operated by Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, offers a range of services that are offered on an appointment or walk-in basis, and appointments can be made directly from their website. Services that the Bend clinic provides include:
- Abortion Services
- Birth Control, with a wide range of contraceptive options
- HIV Testing
- Men’s Health Care, including vasectomies and check-ups for reproductive problems
- Women’s Health Care, including breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, referrals for mammograms, and more
- Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- Pregnancy Testing, as well as staff trained to discuss options with
- STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines
Hannah Welbourn | The Broadside