The Fifth Column 

Funding Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is in the media spotlight as “Republicans push to block funding for the group because it provides abortions for women.” (CNN). Planned Parenthood receives $500 million a year in funding from the government that ends up being 40% of Planned Parenthood’s total $1.3 billion in revenue for the year (NPR). Without this funding from the federal government the organization could be facing some financial trouble and struggle to keep providing the services it does.

The “public funds come from two programs: Medicaid, the health care program targeted at lower-income Americans, and Title X, a federal family planning program that likewise primarily serves lower-income Americans” (NPR). The way that Planned Parenthood receives their funding and how that money is used is in a way of reimbursements. Someone who has Medicaid coverage can go to Planned Parenthood for preventative care. This client can receive the services they need taken care of, this could be them getting birth control, an std test, and a Pap smear, for little or no cost. The Planned Parenthood center then submits a claim to Medicaid for the work they provided for the client currently on Medicaid. Medicaid’s job is then to reimburse Planned Parenthood for the services they provided to the client on Medicaid. The state Medicaid then sends a bill to the federal government for all of these reimbursements made across the state. Lastly, the federal government reimburses the state for the costs. It is important to note that the defunding of Planned Parenthood means that only the federal government would cut off the money that they reimburse to the states, so each individual state could continue to fund it even though it would be extremely costly.

The discussion to defund Planned Parenthood led by the Republicans is based on their beliefs on pro-life. Republicans views on abortion “are rooted firmly in the belief that an unborn child, like any individual in this country, has an individual right to life that should not be infringed upon by others. The party adamantly believes that the rights guaranteed to all Americans in the Fourteenth Amendment apply to unborn children as well.” The way Republicans see it is if their tax money is going to fund abortions that happen through Planned Parenthood then they want their money to go somewhere else. The idea of abortion is against what they believe is moral and do not want their money going towards it. These people are skeptical of the need for government money when it receives private donations from various people and companies, for example, Mark Zuckerberg donated $992 million in 2013. However, any money reimbursed from Title X cannot be used for abortions, but not the same goes for the money reimbursed from medicaid. Money reimbursed from medicaid can be used towards abortions, but in very restricted cases. The only time that medicaid money may be used towards abortion is in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. This was established by the 1977 Hyde Amendment.

Rally in support of Planned Parenthood.
Image Source: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Cutting funds will cut spending and “accomplish one Republican anti-abortion goal.” But it is important to note that the defunding of Planned Parenthood will only cut federal funds being received by the states, so states can choose to provide funding or not; states could still spend money to help those on Medicaid. In addition to the states continuing to provide funding, Planned Parenthood would also have to depend on private donations. Private donations are extremely important but may not always be enough money to do all that they are able to with the government funding. Private donations and any other forms of fundraising may keep Planned Parenthood running in the short run but it will not be enough to sustain it in the long run.

Funding Planned Parenthood
by Ceceli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This article was prepared by a young writer through Youth Voices, an exciting initiative helping students find their own voice in the digital world. 

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