By Haley Gosselin
On Jan. 23, President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the Mexico City Policy (also known as the global gag rule) which defunds the International Planned Parenthood Federation, along with any other foreign organizations that provide or lobby for abortion services.
This order bars any and all federal funds from going to these foreign organizations. The IPPF itself will lose approximately $100 million dollars in funding due to this order.
The Mexico City Policy has been rescinded and reinstated many times since it was first enacted by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984, with President Barack Obama being the most recent President to rescind this policy. Many women are worried that Trump’s next move will be to defund the Planned Parenthood organization in the United States, as well.
But the “defunding” of Planned Parenthood in the United States would be different. An employee of Planned Parenthood, who asked to remain anonymous because she was not authorized to speak with the media, broke down what “defunding” would actually do.
“The first thing to know about ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood is that Planned Parenthood doesn’t get a budget/line-item from the government,” the employee said. “What it means is that people who have government-provided health care would not be able to use their insurance at Planned Parenthood for their healthcare needs.”
The government will not take away funds from Planned Parenthood, because they do not provide funding in the first place.
What the Trump administration, especially Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, is trying to accomplish is to block patients with government-issued health insurance, like Medicaid and Title X, from being able to use their insurance at Planned Parenthood centers.
Considering that about 60 percent of all Planned Parenthood patients use these types of insurance, the “defunding” would keep thousands of women and men from receiving their birth control, STI tests and treatment, breast and gynecological exams, immunizations, prenatal care, and many more health services.
Republicans and the Trump administration want to defund Planned Parenthood because they provide abortion services to women—but abortions make up only around 2 to 3 percent of all services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Not only does Planned Parenthood provide an array of health services for women, they do so at an affordable cost, or at no cost at all.
“Because we don’t turn anyone away and the government wants to stop reimbursing us for the costs of care for people with government-sponsored health insurance, it’s going to be a huge financial burden,” the same Planned Parenthood employee said. “Some centers may have to close.”
A local Planned Parenthood patient, Emily Lafleche, 21, of Spencer, MA, has been using Planned Parenthood’s services for years.
“It’s great because you can walk in there and be seen that day,” said Lafleche. “There’s no awkwardness of scheduling an STD screening and everything is super confidential and there’s no judgment. I’ve also been there multiple times for pelvic pain. I called my OBGYN to have a pelvic exam and she couldn’t see me for over a month, so I’m lucky Planned Parenthood was there because I ended up having an ovarian cyst and I would have gone a month dealing with the pain if it wasn’t for them. You can go to Planned Parenthood for anything you’d go to your regular OBGYN for.”
Patients like Emily will lose the convenience and affordability that Planned Parenthood offers to thousands of women in the U.S. if President Trump and Congress are able to pass legislation effectively defunding Planned Parenthood nationally.