Since the new Congress came to Washington DC some Republicans in the House have been very concerned with women’s health care; however, not necessarily in a good way.

In the last few months, the House Leadership has tried to eliminate funding for Title X, the federal family planning program, passed an amendment that bans Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds to provide health care services to their communities, and introduced legislation that attempts to further restrict access to abortion services.

(For more about the legislation see Kaiser’s side-by-side comparison.)

As I write this blog, the latest news reports are saying the federal government shut down may hinge on whether Planned Parenthood is allowed to receive federal funding to provide needed health care services like family planning, sexually transmitted infection testing and counseling, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling and pap smears. None of the federal funds Planned Parenthood currently receives are allowed to be used for abortion services.

Members of Congress who support slashing funding for Planned Parenthood and important women’s health programs are the same individuals who want to dismantle and defund the Affordable Care Act. What were their first actions when they came to Washington in January? They introduced legislation to repeal the ACA — including trying to dismantle the carefully crafted abortion compromise in the law. Tying the two issues together allows opponents to spread misinformation and confuse the public about the ACA.

We took big strides forward when we passed the ACA to ensure access to health care services for families. For women, in particular the ACA:

  • — Stops insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions – including pregnancy;
  • — Covers preventive services like mammograms and other preventive screening without out-of-pocket costs;
  • —  Lowers health care costs for women by not allowing women to be charged more than men.
Allowing any of the proposals in the House discussed here to move forward is a slippery slope that could cause real harm to women’s health. Our elected officials should be working to ensure access to women’s health care services is not undermined so women can get the health care they need, when they need it.

— Reena Singh, Field Coordinator