That’s what happened when Planned Parenthood of Indiana ran out of money this week to treat Medicaid patients — 9,300 people now have no way to access their regular health care provider. A state law ended funding in May, but an outpouring of private donations provided money for another month. About 9,300 of PPIN’s 85,000 patients depend on Medicaid to pay their bills. Without that money, they can’t be treated. And if a judge rules against PPIN in a lawsuit it’s brought against the state, most or all of the Hoosiers who depend on Planned Parenthood could lose their health care provider. PPIN will be forced to close some of its 28 clinics and lay off workers.
All because Planned Parenthood provides a legal medical procedure — abortion. But even though money to pay for abortions comes from private donors, and abortions haven’t been paid for with government funds since the 1970s, conservatives in both parties are determined to punish PPIN for even providing abortions by taking away its funding for services such as pap smears, birth control, STI testing and cancer screening.
Guess what happens when low-income women don’t have access to birth control? They get pregnant. Guess what happens when they can’t abort the fetuses? They give birth. Guess what happens when they can’t afford to pay for those children? They go on welfare — and end up costing the state thousands of dollars more than the original birth control would have cost.
This is not rocket science. If you want to lower the abortion rate and number of people on government assistance, GIVE THEM BIRTH CONTROL. Provide them with health care to take care of routine medical problems instead of making them wait until the problem is serious enough to end up in the emergency room. Help them treat that sexually transmitted infection so it doesn’t spread to more people. Save their lives by giving AIDS and cancer tests.
All of this is common sense. Study after study shows that for every dollar spent on family planning, the government saves nearly $4. Communities worldwide are healthier when women have the power to plan if, when and how they will have children. Indiana, along with Kansas and North Carolina, which have also moved to defund Planned Parenthood, is just shooting itself in the foot by denying women and men routine reproductive health care.