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The House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood--here's how that might affect you

Last October, a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, GL posted an article explaining the history and mission of Planned Parenthood (PP), as well as its place in American politics today. This debate has been a hot topic for years, and yesterday's passage of new healthcare legislation in the House of Representatives is a sign that it's not going away anytime soon.

You might be wondering how this new bill could impact your life. First, here's a little background.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), President Trump's proposed replacement for former President Obama's Affordable Care Act, includes wording that prevents PP from receiving monetary reimbursements from the government. As it stands now, PP receives this funding because they provide women with contraception, cancer screenings and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, not because of the abortion procedures that doctors at some clinics perform. PP also maintains that they have never used government money for abortion-related services.

Regardless, the AHCA proposes that federal funding be temporarily taken away from PP. While the organization doesn't rely on this money completely, it would be a major blow for them to lose it. The AHCA still needs to pass in the Senate to become law, which is by no means a guarantee, but if it succeeds, many girls will be affected. It has been estimated that around 1 in 5 American women use or have used one of PP's services.       

The vast majority visit one of the organization's health centers for low-cost preventive care, such as screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, screening for cervical, ovarian and breast cancers, regular check-ups with a gynecologist and receiving contraception. Girls also visit the clinics to ask questions about their reproductive health in a safe, confidential environment, without any fear or shame (they're able to do this whether their parents have health insurance or not, which can be an issue for a lot of people).  

Lots of young girls take birth control pills, but not only to prevent pregnancy. Girls can also be prescribed the medication to regulate their periods, soothe severe cramps, treat a painful disorder called endometriosis and ease excessively heavy blood flow. PP provides birth control for these purposes, and also offers other forms of health care. If it no longer receives government funding, however, around 390,000 women across the country will no longer be able to receive that care.

Sex education is another large component of PP's work. Too many schools still do not provide it to their students, or take an approach that does little to combat teen pregnancy when put into practice. If the AHCA passes, PP will lose funding that helps it to provide educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people each year, many of whom would not receive sex ed otherwise.

Regardless of whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, it's important to understand how the AHCA might affect you and the other girls around you in terms of reproductive health.

What do you think about the new bill? Let us know in the comments! 

Photo credit: Planned Parenthood.

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by Bridget Curley | 5/6/2017