Updated: March 1, 2017
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told BuzzFeed News that the organization is working on highlighting its non-abortion health services, which includes cancer and STI screenings. Planned Parenthood also recently held a roundtable with its patients and providers in House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s Wisconsin Congressional district, where none of the clinics perform abortions, according to BuzzFeed. And, they’ve released an ad spot featuring a patient who says she was dissuaded from getting an abortion by a nurse at the organization.
Richards told BuzzFeed that the efforts are part of an “education campaign” to “fill in a picture for people” about the health services Planned Parenthood provides to its patients. Since the Hyde Amendment bars federal funding from being used to perform abortions except in certain cases, the money the organization does receives from the federal government helps pay for health services for low-income women.
“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion, but that has nothing to do with the defunding fight,” Richards said in a statement to Motto. “When politicians like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, what they’re talking about is cutting women off from cancer screenings, birth control, and HIV and STI testing and treatment — denying millions of women access to the health care provider they’ve been depending on for decades. That’s the real-world consequence of this legislation, and those are the stories we’re making sure every member of Congress hears.”
“The stakes have become quite clear recently, and they’re very high,” Richards told BuzzFeed. “The patients I talk to are terrified they’re going to lose their access to health care, and docs and clinicians are terrified that this Senate is going block the women with the least access to health care from getting any at all.”
“The truth is, no one really knows what will make a difference anymore,” she said. “But that’s why we have to do everything we can.”