Planned Parenthood says republicans ACA replacement legislation would hurt thousands in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Planned Parenthood said if republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives get their way thousands in this area and around the state could go without health services.

As part of the legislation unveiled early this week to replace former President Barack Obama's signature law, the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood would be defunded.

"Defunding Planned Parenthood would have extreme consequences for our state," said Kirby Smith, Media Coordinator for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

While she said they are not currently providing abortions at the New Orleans location or anywhere in Louisiana, the proposed legislation would bar Planned Parenthood as a whole from being reimbursed through Medicaid for health services because the organization does have abortion services across the country and that funding loss would trickle down to Louisiana.

"The folks that are affected the most and hurt the most are those who are already facing the most barriers to care, those of people of color, people of low income and people who live in medically under-served areas," said Smith.

She said 10,000 people in Louisiana benefit from a menu of health services provided by Planned Parenthood.

"Which includes cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, contraception and well-woman exams," said Smith.

"I think we've been aborting too many babies," said Roger Villere, Chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party.

He believes the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood is the right step.

"They can give up abortion and get the money. It's their decision to do abortions. They were offered that. The republican delegation has offered that. I know the president has reached out to them," Villere said.

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued the following statement:

"The White House proposal that Planned Parenthood stop providing abortion is the same demand opponents of women's health have been pushing for decades, as a part of their long-standing effort to end women's access to safe, legal abortion. Planned Parenthood has always stood strong against these attacks on our patients and their ability to access the full range of reproductive health care.  We are glad that the White House understands that taking away the preventive care Planned Parenthood provides is deeply unpopular and would be a disaster for women's health care.

"It is legal right now, so if you want to pay for your own abortion go ahead, but we shouldn't have the government paying for that."

The republicans' legislation would also affect federal funding for Medicaid Expansion which is part of the current health care reform law.

Currently, in Louisiana, over 400,000 people benefit from the expanded Medicaid rolls. But if they lose government-funded health coverage due to the republicans' push to phase out Medicaid Expansion, some observers believe some of those affected could turn to Planned Parenthood for health services because the organization also treats uninsured patients.

"There's a lot of other organizations that provide women services. You don't have go through Planned Parenthood," said Villere.

"For many of our patients, we're the only healthcare provider they see. And so if they can no longer access our services, likely they would have nowhere else to go," said Smith.

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