This week College of Public Health Dean Laura Siminoff and other leaders of public health schools and programs across the nation publicly urged U.S. Congress to protect federal funding for Planned Parenthood health centers. In an open letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the 20 deans and directors warned against excluding Planned Parenthood from funding through Medicaid and other federal health programs, arguing that the organization’s health centers provide millions of Americans with critical access to reproductive healthcare.
“Policies that exclude Planned Parenthood from public health funding would hurt millions of people and prevent women, men, and young people from having timely access to basic preventive health care services,” the letter states.
The signers argue that Planned Parenthood health centers are essential to the health and wellbeing of many Americans who would not otherwise have access to preventive health services—especially those in rural or medically underserved areas of the country. Those services include family planning, well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancers screenings, and HIV testing and counseling.
“Blocking people from accessing this critical care at Planned Parenthood health centers will have a disproportionate effect on low-income families and people of color—and would cause a public health crisis, especially in areas where access to care is already limited,” they argue.
The signers sent their letter as the U.S. Senate held multiple unsuccessful votes this week to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act—an action which, if passed, would likely eliminate significant federal funding to Planned Parenthood.