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Planned Parenthood Defends its Federal Funding

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Planned Parenthood is turning to its supporters for help as the new Congress moves to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan says the budget reconciliation bill that would repeal Obamacare contains a provision that would take away funding for Planned Parenthood.

As the process continues, the organization that provides not only abortions, but broader health care for women, is working to leverage its political power to retain its federal funding.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho says 70% of its funding comes from federal sources, either reimbursement for care offered to Medicaid patients or grants for specific services.

Spokeswoman Tiffany Harms says by defunding her organization, the federal government will force many of the local affiliate’s patients to turn to other community providers for service.

“For many of our patients, we are the only providers that they see," Harms said. "We have families that have been coming to us for generations. This is like where they would like to go and the provider that they trust. It’s very important to understand that we play a critical role in our local health care system and you can’t just take a cog out and expect it to work.”

Harms says, in addition to abortions, Planned Parenthood provides preventive health care, including cancer screenings, breast and annual exams, birth control and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases.

The future of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding won’t be known until the House and Senate budget committees reconcile their respective budget bills later this month.

Until then, the agency is is urging its supporters to contact their congressional members to express their opinions.