New report analyzes Planned Parenthood’s impact, implications of “defunding”
Through its reproductive and sexual health care, Planned Parenthood saves Maine people $7.9 million per year, according to a new report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP).
“This analysis confirms what we already know: Planned Parenthood is critical to Maine’s public health infrastructure,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “When politicians talk about “defunding” Planned Parenthood, what they are really saying is that they want to deny basic health care to men and women who are covered by Medicaid and rely on Planned Parenthood for care. For many patients, blocking access to Planned Parenthood, to their healthcare providers, means blocking access to their only access to care. Without Planned Parenthood, they will have nowhere else to go.”
Three of four Planned Parenthood health centers in Maine are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
In the counties where Planned Parenthood health centers are located, Planned Parenthood sees 75% of contraceptive patients at publicly-funded health centers.
“By singling out Planned Parenthood, Congress will undercut vital health services for low‐income women in Maine,” according to MECEP’s report.
Nearly 80,000 women are in need of publicly funded contraceptive services each year, yet Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers are only able to provide care to one-third of those in need.
While state family planning funding has declined, unintended pregnancy and infant mortality rates are on the rise. Analysis in 2010 found that the public cost of unintended pregnancies in Maine is $58.2 million a year. Nearly half of all pregnancies in Maine are unintended and 43% of pregnancies are covered by Medicaid.
Without Planned Parenthood and other safety-net health centers the rates of unintended pregnancy, unplanned births, and abortion would be 70% higher in Maine.
MECEP’s report concludes, “It is essential that Maine’s congressional delegation protect access to a robust network of publicly funded family planning health centers that include Planned Parenthood. At a time when infant mortality and unintended pregnancy is on the rise and when there is a need to support greater labor force participation in order to grow the state’s economy, access to health care and, in particular, access to family planning services is vital to Maine’s economic future.”
The congressional healthcare repeal bills contain language blocking Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood, commonly called “defunding” Planned Parenthood. In Maine, 25% of Planned Parenthood patients are Medicaid patients—they come to Planned Parenthood for annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings, disease testing and treatment, and other critical care. Medicaid cannot be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is in danger.
Congressional proposals to block Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood would impact Planned Parenthood’s ability to continue providing effective care and meeting the need for high-quality, affordable reproductive healthcare in Maine: 49 percent of the revenue for services provided at the health centers come from federal sources, primarily Medicaid.
Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Maine. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.