Republicans in Congress are preparing a full-on assault of Planned Parenthood by ripping away the funding the centers rely on to stay open.
The Republican solution to keep providing patients with the services offered by Planned Parenthood? Community health care clinics, which provide affordable and accessible health care to rural and urban communities.
Planned Parenthood focuses specifically on reproductive health, providing a wide variety of birth control options including reversible long-term birth control options and accessible STI and cancer screenings that are sometimes not available at community health clinics.
But while both community health clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics work to promote public health, shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics would only hurt the health of communities, leaving women and their families with fewer – and in some cases no other – options for care.
Because of the breadth of care they cover, only half of Community Health Centers that receive Title X funding provide IUDs or implants on-site and 25% do not provide oral contraceptives on-site. Planned Parenthood offers more contraceptive options for women, making it easier for women to find long-acting contraceptives like IUDs and implants and enables women to receive these options on the day they enter.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood clinics are especially important because they serve over twice the amount of contraceptive clients than federally-qualified health clinics.
In fact, nearly one-third of all women in need of publicly funded birth control nation-wide live in counties where Planned Parenthood is the primary provider for safety-net patients.
When compared with other types of publicly-funded health care providers, Planned Parenthood clinics have shorter wait times for an initial visit, offer extended hours, and offer same-day appointments.
Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in areas that have a shortage in health professionals, rural or underserved areas. Planned Parenthood clinics often serve most or all of the safety-net contraceptive clients in their county. If these clinics were to close, low-income women and women of color would be hit the hardest.
Some health clinics are actually homeless shelters, food banks, and dentist’s offices. Some only handle mental health. While all of these services are incredibly important to a community’s health, they can’t provide preventative health services for women and their families, such as family planning, cancer screenings, and STI testing.
Shutting down Planned Parenthood clinics would mean that millions of women, many of whom are young, low-income, immigrants, or uninsured, would lose a trusted source of care, and in some cases the only source of care available to them.