The new Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have launched an attack against women’s health care. House leaders are looking to eliminate Title X, a national family planning program that provides low-income women with preventive care. Their agenda also includes an amendment that would prohibit all Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving any federal funds.

As a clinician, these proposals devastate me. This is not about abortion. The federal government doesn’t provide funding for abortion, except in the cases of rape and incest. This is about women’s health care. If legislators are successful, millions of women could lose their access to health care. Planned Parenthood provides women, both the insured and uninsured, with essential services that they simply cannot afford to lose.

Many may be unaware of the comprehensive care offered at Planned Parenthood health centers. Patients can go to the nearest center for gynecological exams, cancer screenings, vaccines, family planning services and sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing. Without these services readily available, the health of millions of women would be at serious risk.

Women are not the only ones legislators are putting at risk. If women are not treated for STDs or HIV, not only will their health suffer, but the health of sexual partners and any unborn children will be put in jeopardy as well. We live in a culture that constantly emphasizes the importance of reproductive health, especially of STD, HIV and cancer testing, yet legislators want to completely strip women of these resources.

I encourage you to contact your legislators and ask them to reject the Pence amendment for the sake of women across the country.

Val Baron
Oak Park
Planned Parenthood of Illinois clinician

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