A congressional hearing today on Planned Parenthood featured much discussion of Planned Parenthood’s travel expenses and multiple rude interruptions of Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards by the lead Republican questioner.
Surrounding the hearings have been the refrain from Republican politicians that Planned Parenthood is not a health care provider (lie: it provides more basic health services than abortions) and that, should it lose federal reimbursements for those health services (it gets no money for abortions) the services could be provided by others.
(Catch that? Republicans say Planned Parenthood is NOT a health care provider but — if it is — somebody else could do it.)
Sarah Kliff at Vox explains this nonsense — parroted mindlessly by Arkansas Republican congressmen by a misleading map with clusters of dots denoting health clinics, many of which don’t provide the services PP provides.
Historically, researchers have found that when Planned Parenthood clinics close, other clinics do not step up to fill the gap. Meanwhile, when there are fewer reproductive health clinics available, women get less reproductive health care — from birth control to cancer screenings to STD testing and treatment. Unintended pregnancies would likely increase, too.
So while many politicians like to assert that women can “go somewhere else,” the consensus in the literature shows a different picture. Higher-income women will find alternatives. But a sizable minority of Planned Parenthood’s patients, particularly low-income women, would lose access to medical services.
Planned Parenthood plays a big role in women’s reproductive health care in America for two reasons: It has hundreds of clinics, and those clinics tend to serve a higher number of patients than other health-care providers.
About one in six American counties — 491 counties in total — have a Planned Parenthood clinic. Taken together, they see about 2.6 million patients annually.
Planned Parenthood exists in many places where other family planning clinics don’t
Share it with your Republican legislator. In other words, to paraphrase a famous Republican congressman from Arkansas, I’m encouraging you to stick it where the sun of enlightenment doesn’t shine.
Richards also defended Planned Parenthood’s participation in a limited number of clinics (not Arkansas) in donations of fetal tissue to medical research and said “deceptively edited videos” had misrepresented the program. She called the allegations “offensive and categorically untrue.”
PPS — A new Pew Poll shows 60 percent of Americans favor continued funding of Planned Parenthood.
ALSO AT TALKING POINTS MEMO: Amanda Marcotte rips up the bogus GOP gotcha on mammograms.