Congressmen might've reached an uneasy truce on the budget but the debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is far from settled. On Thursday, the U.S. House and Senate are expected to take a floor vote on whether Planned Parenthood should continue to receive roughly $300 million in federal funding—or .008 percent of the budget—that allow low-income women to access affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment, not abortions (the funds are already federally prohibited from being used for abortions).
To be clear: The vote won't pass in the Senate. And, since it's been decoupled from the overall budget vote, it has less likelihood of passing with huge numbers in the House again (fewer Representatives are going to come out as proud, anti-woman bigots without an entire budget deal to deflect some of the criticism).
Meanwhile, a majority of Americans—65 percent—support Planned Parenthood funding, according to a recent CNN poll.
So now is the time to contact your Representatives and bang the drum on why Planned Parenthood is vital. For instance, in Washington state, Planned Parenthood is the only low-income planning family provider in 16 counties*. After the jump, you'll find a few good stats the organization has concerning its services in Washington state:
*Benton, Clark, Franklin, Island, Kittitas, Lewis, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, and Yakima.
Planned Parenthood serves over 140,000 women and men in Washington and provides education to 35,000 individuals.
They provide 40,953 STI/HIV screening tests each year, 38,962 annual exams, and 39,010 breast cancer screenings—not to mention birth control and family planning services.
They help avert 42,983 unintended pregnancies annually through family planning services. For every dollar spent on family planning, the state saves over $4 in costs associated with unintended pregnancies.
And nationally, as Dan and numerous other smart people have noted, abortions account for only three percent of Planned Parenthood's patient services. This isn't a fight over abortion. It's a fight over women's health. Don't let the bigots win, contact your Representative now.