Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fact checking

People who know me are probably well aware that I am angry about the recently passed and now signed Indiana law defunding Planned Parenthood. I am angry because I think it is an assault on women's healthcare.

I know a number of women who have relied or still do rely on Planned Parenthood for family planning, pap smears, mammograms, and all the other services they provide. There are a lot of people on Medicaid who will now not be able to receive that care. All because a group of people wants to make it as hard as possible to get an abortion and people apparently don't care that abortion is a tiny portion of the services Planned Parenthood provides.

I have heard a couple of comments that I would like to address. And I intend to cite my sources rather than just throw information out there since there is misleading information everywhere.

"I don't want my tax dollars paying for abortions."
Good. They don't. They are prevented from paying for abortions, other than the 3 stipulated exceptions of the Hyde Amendment, by federal law. In fact, several states, including Indiana, also have laws on the books prohibiting tax money from paying for abortion services.

Under Medicaid, family planning services, not including abortion, must be covered. Read the very long, very tedious, Title XIX, section 1902 of the Social Security Act, to learn more about the operation of state Medicaid plans.

And speaking of Medicaid funding, yes, the state could lose federal funding for Medicaid by enacting the law. See Title XIX, section 1904 of the Social Security Act.

"Planned Parenthood is just an abortion provider."
I beg to differ, but the majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood are not abortions. The Planned Parenthood of Indiana 2010 Annual Report has a very easy to read chart detailing the services provided in the state and demographic information on their clients (page 9). Really, out of over 244,000 patient visits and over 85,000 patients, that they performed 5,580 abortions is really a small percentage. Yes, 5,580 is a large number and I for one would like that number to be smaller. But approximately 2.25% of patient visits...

There's even a nifty website called FactCheck.org which has answered both of these questions on a national scale.

So here's my gripe.

The 97+% of non-abortion services that Planned Parenthood provides are going to not be funded in Indiana. So the over 386,000 contraceptives that were dispensed might not be this year. Which in all likelihood will lead to more unplanned pregnancies. Which will lead to 1) more abortions or 2) a drain on welfare dollars since a lot of those mothers likely use Planned Parenthood because they are unable to afford other healthcare, don't have insurance other than Medicaid, and are thus living below 250% of the federal poverty rate (if you read Title XIX, section 1902, you would know that is the income requirement), thus meaning that they likely receive some sort of assistance.

And all those women who can't afford Pap tests and mammograms, and all the men and women who don't get STD tests, will not get the preventive care they need. When the potential cancers are found, they will be much more costly and harder to treat.

So not funding Planned Parenthood, rather than saving Indiana residents tax money, could very well cost us more. And cause larger problems. And if you think other providers will be easy to find or not be overwhelmed, well, maybe you should read this.

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