What does the GOP bill being withdrawn mean for reproductive health?

Abortion rights have been longed debated and discussed among those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice. Even in the 21st century, social and cultural construct of gender affect reproductive choices up to the political scale.

Under Supreme Court Decision, implementation of the Affordable Care Act have expanded on preventive and reproductive health services. This was beneficial for women because they were able to have access to preventative care, which includes contraception, testing/screenings, prenatal and post-partum counseling, and etc. The Supreme Court Decisions supported advancement in women’s health through the expansion of services in 2012, making health care services more affordable for women in the United States. However, the 2014 Supreme Court Decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby allowed private companies to deny their employees insurance coverage for birth control under the Affordable Care Act’s preventive health provisions. This means that the Affordable Care Act cannot force organizations, especially religious ones, to provide insurance coverage on contraception or abortions. This interfered with women’s reproductive rights and reversed the expansion of the preventative health services lead by the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

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Moving on, Republicans in congress proposed the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This bill aimed to: set a limit on spending on Medicaid, reduced subsidies for buying private insurance, an increase in prices on insurance premiums, federal funding of Planned Parenthood being cut, etc. Focusing in on reproductive health, the GOP bill planned to cut the funding that Planned Parenthood received from Medicaid for a year. Planned Parenthood received federal funding primarily through reimbursement through Medicaid and the Title X Family Planning grant to provide care for low-income patients. With this federal funding being cut, Planned Parenthood will have a major setback. Interestingly enough, Planned Parenthood is being attacked for its abortions services, but Planned Parenthood cannot use federal funding’s for abortion services. Therefore, this funding’s with affect other services that Planned Parenthood provides (providing contraceptives, cancer screenings, prenatal care, and etc.) and the women who uses these services.

The impacts of the GOP bill cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding are negative. Defunding the organization would increase Medicaid spending up to $21 million at its first year. This would not help with the high health care spending the United States is doing already. In 2013, the United States spent $2.7 trillion on health care. Compared to other countries, United States’ spending in medical care far exceed the others. Also, the country lacks federally qualified health clinics at an affordable price for women to go to. Planned Parenthood provides their services for free or a reduced cost. Therefore, around 15% of women will lose access to health care if this bill were to pass.

Luckily, on March 24, 2017, the GOP bill was withdrawn before the House was set to vote. The reason behind the GOP bill being pulled out was due to the lack of votes in support of repealing the Affordable Care Act. This is a victory for the Democrat party and those who support Planned Parenthood.

Following these threats to reproductive choices, it is important to take actions now. Bringing awareness is a great way to take action. By holding these political conversations with our peers in our daily lives, we are engaging ourselves to be a part of the resistance to change that negatively affect our health. It’s the 21st century, women should be able to make a choice on their bodies without the system interfering.

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