Are you confused about what or how Planned Parenthood utilizes federal funds or know someone who is? Well, you’re in luck: I’m here to help break it down.
How Planned Parenthood uses federal funding:
- A patient covered by Medicaid goes to a Planned Parenthood clinic to receive health care (e.g., STD testing, pap smear, mammogram, counseling, etc.).
- Planned Parenthood submits a claim to Medicaid for reimbursement, just as they would for regular insurance.
- Medicaid reimburses Planned Parenthood.
- The federal government reimburses the state Medicaid agency.
Planned Parenthood has even created a great, very pink infographic that breaks it down:
Here’s where people really get it wrong: federal funds do not reimburse Planned Parenthood for abortion procedures of any kind except for those allowed under the (much reviled) 1977 Hyde Amendment.
If Planned Parenthood were to submit a claim to Medicaid for an abortion procedure conducted outside the legal parameters of the Hyde Amendment, the organization would not be reimbursed.
What’s the Hyde Amendment? This 40-year-old piece of legislation “forbids the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.” This amendment is still in effect today.
Pursuant to Medicaid rules and regulations, it is primarily up to your state, not the federal government, to determine what it will cover overall. According to Medicaid.gov, “The state plan sets out groups of individuals to be covered, services to be provided, methodologies for providers to be reimbursed and the administrative activities that are underway in the state.”
Traditionally, Republicans want small, limited government, which essentially means they believe it should be left up to the states to make their own decisions. The abortion policy outlined above is exactly that.
But wait! I have more to say about the Hyde Amendment. That latter bit about exceptions has only been in effect since 1994. The decision was handed down in Roe v. Wade in 1973, leaving a 21-year gap in which low-income women were not allowed to procure abortions if birthing a child meant certain death, if she was raped by a stranger, or if her dear old uncle, daddy, brother, or cousin decided to have his way with her and resulted in a pregnancy.
Do you feel a little sick? I do.
When it comes to state-funded abortion procedures, states have the option to add allowable circumstances beyond life endangerment, rape or incest, but very few do. In fact, one state only allows Medicaid to cover an abortion if the mother’s life is in danger.
Still not convinced? Do a search for “Abortion” on www.Medicaid.gov and you will find, in quite a official documents, the very words: “Federal Medicaid funding of abortion services is not permitted under federal law except in certain extraordinary circumstances (in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman would be in danger)” (source).
Is the person you’re speaking to still not convinced? Try this: Ask them what other issues they’re passionate about. Then ask them to go and do some research about what federal laws and potential funding pertains (or doesn’t) to those issues. Ask them to come back to you when they’re done, and tell them you’d like to have a meaningful and educational conversation about those other issues. A) They probably won’t because they’re busy or don’t care that much; but B) if they do, it’ll probably be a great experience for the both of you.
Look, I have not written this to change anyone’s mind or stance on abortion. I am not going to engage in an argument over whether or not abortion is right or wrong–it is always futile and I think my personal stance on this issue is relatively clear. What I do hope to achieve is to provide a little bit of education about how Planned Parent utilizes federal funding.
Abortion is not for everyone, but Planned Parenthood is. Right now, moves are being made at the federal level to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursement for the fundamental care that it provides for 2.5 million women and men (yes, MEN!) around the country, and the organization needs your support more than ever.
How does your state stack up? Find out at the Guttmacher Institute website.