It was no secret that the now Republican-majority Congress would seek to repeal Obamacare. It was a campaign promise from President-elect Trump that was discussed at great length during Decision 2016. However, the curveball came in the GOP’s quest to defund Planned Parenthood. It was a little nugget buried in the Obamacare repeal plan, but it has caused a firestorm of criticism across the nation.
Where Democrats and Republicans tend to lock horns over Planned Parenthood is abortion. The GOP is staunchly pro-life and disagrees with giving federal funding to an organization that provides abortions. Defunding Planned Parenthood is an obvious move to push and protect a pro-life agenda. However, according to Refinery29, among several other sources, abortions only account for 3% of the services offered at Planned Parenthood clinics around the nation. The vast majority of the services offered help with reproductive health care and family planning. Planned Parenthood often fills in the gaps where local hospitals can’t provide help to the communities around them. Defunding this organization is a kick in the gut to women and low-income Americans. But an unintended victim of this defunding could be the LGBTQ community.
Transgender health care is a major touchpoint of debate in politics. Many states are still concerned with where trans men and women are using the bathroom. Their healthcare isn’t exactly a national priority. Planned Parenthood has become a safe haven for trans folks. According to The Daily Beast, Planned Parenthood centers in 16 states offer hormone therapy. 65 locations offer some of type transition-specific health care. It’s possible that Planned Parenthood is the most significant health care resource in America for trans people.
However, trans health isn’t the only thing at stake. Planned Parenthood provides STI testing as well as education services regarding sexual health and sexual identity. Centers throughout the country have hosted workshops focusing on LGBTQ issues. These clinics are some of the only places in the United States where LGBTQ people can receive health services without fear of discrimination.
If the GOP guts the funding for Planned Parenthood, they aren’t just succeeding in stopping their support of abortions. They’re hanging millions of people out to dry, many of whom are in our community.
To be clear, none of the federal money which Planned Parenthood receives goes directly toward funding abortions. Most of the federal funds received come courtesy of Medicaid reimbursements. While Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, money from its private donors is being used for those services.
So, this financial attack from Congress isn’t based on actual spending of funds. It’s purely ideological. And the fallout from such a careless decision could have detrimental effects.
Should this Obamacare repeal plan be approved, Planned Parenthood won’t close tomorrow. The organization still receives millions in private donations. And celebrities like Common and the National will take part in a January 19 benefit concert to raise more money. There are still tons of supporters out there who stand behind Planned Parenthood’s mission.
What remains to be seen is what will happen in the immediate aftermath if Planned Parenthood is effectively defunded. In the LGBTQ community, our biggest fears of the Trump administration are that our rights won’t be protected and that steps will be taken to marginalize us. The Planned Parenthood defunding may seem like a direct attack on women’s rights, but it’s also a thinly veiled attack against LGBTQ rights. Our community depends on these services, and without them, many of us are at risk of losing our identities, exposing ourselves to disease or missing out on support to deal with our families.
Planned Parenthood is so many things to so many people. We can’t afford to lose this organization and its many centers. We can’t afford to be hung out to dry.