Trump could cut funds to Planned Par­ent­hood

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

WASH­ING­TON: One of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s first, and defin­ing, acts next year could come on Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tion to cut off tax­payer money from Planned Par­ent­hood. Trump sent mixed sig­nals dur­ing the cam­paign about the 100-year-old or­ga­ni­za­tion, which pro­vides birth con­trol, abor­tions and var­i­ous women’s health ser­vices. He said “mil­lions of women are helped by Planned Par­ent­hood,” but he also en­dorsed ef­forts to de­fund it. Trump once de­scribed him­self as “very pro-choice”. Now he’s in the anti-abor­tion camp.

Still, the Repub­li­can has been stead­fast in call­ing for re­peal of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health­care law, and the GOP-led Congress is ea­ger to com­ply. One of the first pieces of leg­is­la­tion will be a re­peal mea­sure that’s paired with cut­ting off money for Planned Par­ent­hood. While the GOP may de­lay the im­pact of scut­tling the law for al­most four years, deny­ing Planned Par­ent­hood roughly $400 mil­lion in Med­i­caid funds would take ef­fect im­me­di­ately. “We’ve al­ready shown what we be­lieve with re­spect to fund­ing of Planned Par­ent­hood,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, told re­porters last month. “Our po­si­tion has not changed.”

Leg­is­la­tion to both re­peal the law and cut Planned Par­ent­hood funds for ser­vices to low-in­come women moved through Congress along party lines last year. Obama ve­toed it; Trump’s win re­moves any ob­sta­cle. Cut­ting off Planned Par­ent­hood from tax­payer money is a long-sought dream of so­cial con­ser­va­tives, but it’s a loser in the minds of some GOP strate­gists. Planned Par­ent­hood is loathed by anti-abor­tion ac­tivists who are the back­bone of the GOP coali­tion. Polls, how­ever, show that the group is fa­vor­ably viewed by a siz­able ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans - 59 per­cent in a Gallup sur­vey last year, in­clud­ing more than one-third of Repub­li­cans.

“De­fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood as one of their first acts in the New Year would be dev­as­tat­ing for mil­lions of fam­i­lies and a huge mis­take by Repub­li­cans,” said in­com­ing Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer. Democrats pledge to de­fend the group, and they point to the is­sue of birth con­trol and women’s health as help­ing them win Se­nate races in New Hamp­shire and Ne­vada this year. They ar­gue that Trump would be lead­ing off with a po­lit­i­cal loser. But if he were to have sec­ond thoughts and if the Planned Par­ent­hood pro­vi­sion were to be dropped from the health law re­peal, then so­cial con­ser­va­tives prob­a­bly would erupt.

“They may well be able to suc­ceed, but the women of Amer­ica are go­ing to know what that means,” said Rep Diana DeGette, cit­ing re­duced ac­cess to ser­vices Planned Par­ent­hood clin­ics pro­vide. “And we’re go­ing to call Repub­li­cans on the car­pet for that.” At least one Repub­li­can se­na­tor, Su­san Collins of Maine, may op­pose the ef­fort. Collins has de­fended Planned Par­ent­hood, say­ing it “pro­vides im­por­tant fam­ily plan­ning, can­cer screen­ing, and ba­sic pre­ven­tive health care ser­vices to mil­lions of women across the coun­try.” She voted against the health over­haul re­peal last year as a re­sult.

Anti-abor­tion con­ser­va­tives

Con­tin­ued op­po­si­tion from Collins, which ap­pears likely, would put the re­peal mea­sure on a knife’s edge in the Se­nate, where Repub­li­cans will have a 52-48 ma­jor­ity next year. Se­nate GOP lead­ers could af­ford to lose just one other Repub­li­can. Anti-abor­tion con­ser­va­tives have long tried to cut Planned Par­ent­hood funds, ar­gu­ing that re­im­burse­ments for non-abor­tion ser­vices such as gy­ne­co­log­i­cal ex­ams help sub­si­dize abor­tions.

— AP

LOS AN­GE­LES: In this Sept 9, 2015 file photo, Planned Par­ent­hood sup­port­ers rally for women’s ac­cess to re­pro­duc­tive health­care on “Na­tional Pink Out Day” at Los An­ge­les City Hall.

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