Paul Ryan pledges GOP’s first legislative action will defund Planned Parenthood

The GOP will try to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood in one fell swoop.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

With majorities in Congress and the impending inauguration of Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers are wasting no time pursuing policy goals that threaten to imperil millions of Americans’ access to health care.

This week, GOP leaders moved forward with a plan to repeal Obamacare through a process called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to avoid a filibuster from their Democratic colleagues. Through this budget process, Republicans are asking House and Senate committees to produce legislation by January 27 that includes dismantling key parts of Obamacare.

But it doesn’t stop there. On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) confirmed that the GOP-sponsored budget resolution will also include provisions to strip funding from Planned Parenthood — the biggest provider of reproductive health services in the country.

“Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our reconciliation bill,” Ryan told a reporter who asked how and when his party planned on defunding the organization.

Ryan on Defunding PPDefunding Planned Parenthood will be in reconciliation bill.www.c-span.orgRepublicans’ effort to repeal Obamacare before coming up with a viable replacement plan could result in at least 20 million Americans losing their access to the coverage they gained under the health law.

Affordable health care is lifesaving for many low-income Americans who can’t otherwise pay for the services they need. One study that examined mortality rates before and after the health care reform in Massachusetts that laid the groundwork for Obamacare suggests as many as 27,000 people could die each year if they lose their insurance.

On top of that, targeting Planned Parenthood puts some low-income Americans in jeopardy of losing the only access to family planning services in their community. Planned Parenthood serves an estimated 2.5 million people at its clinics each year, most of whom rely on federal safety net programs.

In addition to offering abortions at some of its locations — which has made the organization a prime GOP target — Planned Parenthood also uses federal and state funding to provide services like birth control, STD tests, and cancer screenings to patients who can’t afford this care on their own.

Though President-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged that Planned Parenthood helps million of women, he still vows to defund it.

On Thursday, anticipating attacks in the new GOP-controlled Congress, Planned Parenthood rolled out a nationwide campaign to push back against lawmakers’ efforts to strip its funding. The group unveiled a new website, launched a petition asking Congress to stand with Planned Parenthood, and announced plans for marches and letter-writing campaigns in several states.

“We won’t back down, we won’t be silenced, and we will not let these politicians attack our health and rights without a fight,” Kelley Robinson, the deputy national organization director for Planned Parenthood’s political arm, said in a statement announcing the new effort.