Colorado GOP representative Lauren Boebert introduced a bill Friday that would prohibit federal tax dollars from being allocated to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s largest provider of abortions.
The Defund Planned Parenthood Act, Boebert’s first bill of 2023, would redirect such federal funding to community health centers, according to a release from the Republican office.
“The country’s largest abortion provider has nothing to do with receiving taxpayers’ money,” Boebert said in the press release. “Planned Parenthood claims that this money goes to women’s health care, but last year Planned Parenthood performed a record number of abortions and also reduced the number of studies conducted on women and breast cancer.”
Boebert’s bill includes a one-year moratorium on U.S. funding for Planned Parenthood, prohibiting financial support for affiliates of the group that cannot declare that they will not provide abortion funding during that period.
The bill is one of several introduced this week by GOP lawmakers, aiming to limit abortion care, as opponents of the procedure gathered Friday in Washington, DC, for the 50th annual March for Life. This week’s rally is the first since the fall of the Supreme Court Roe against Wade during the summer.
Minnesota Representative Michelle Fischbach, a fellow Republican, introduced legislation similar to Boebert’s on Thursday that would require Planned Parenthood to “declare that they will not operate or support entities that perform abortions” in order to maintain their federal funding , read her release.
This isn’t the first time Republican lawmakers have called for funding to be limited to Planned Parenthood. House leaders introduced a similar provision in 2017, and former Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler introduced a bill in 2021 that would limit federal funding to healthcare facilities that perform abortions for a year.
Are Abortions Federally Funded?
According to the website, Planned Parenthood receives federal funding through reimbursements for patients dependent on Medicaid and other federal programs.
However, under the Hyde Amendment passed by Congress in 1993, federal funding may not be used to pay for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. This limits access to abortion for patients who rely on programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or the TRICARE program for military personnel, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
Currently, 16 states have policies governing the use of out-of-pocket funds to pay for abortion services for Medicaid-insured women, KFF writes, filling some of the gaps left by the Hyde Amendment for women with low incomes. incomes.
A bill similar to Boebert’s would remove funding for the various other procedures offered by Planned Parenthood, according to Boston University law professor Jessica Silbey.
“Planned Parenthood is a health care provider and provides health care to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons,” Silbey shared News week on Friday. “So it’s really short-sighted to say that stopping Planned Parenthood is a way to reduce the number of abortions that would be performed in the United States.”
According to Planned Parenthood’s 2020-2021 annual report, abortion services make up just 4 percent of all health services provided by the network, with approximately 383,460 procedures in total.
By contrast, the largest procedure Planned Parenthood offered was testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, which made up 51 percent of all services and was used by more than 4.4 million patients. The annual report also indicated that the group received approximately $633 million in government health care reimbursements and grants that same year.
“Planned Parenthood looks like it’s being singled out for being a pro-choice, gender-inclusive health care provider,” Silbey said. “Planned Parenthood has forever been the subject of funding cutback campaigns, in a sort of classic misogynist movement, but it really hurts the millions and millions and millions of people who depend on these health centers.”
“You know, Boebert suggested that the money go to community clinics instead,” she added. “That is what [Planned Parenthood] it.”
News week has contacted Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life Committee for comment.