At a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that Republicans will move to completely revoke all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, an announcement that caused alarm among pro-choice advocates. Ryan said defunding Planned Parenthood would be part of the broader effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare — a promise made by President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. “The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our (repeal) bill,” Ryan said. The measure would take away $400 million in Medicaid funding from the organization in the first year, and result is some 400,000 women losing care, The Associated Press reported, citing a Congressional Budget Office analysis.
The announcement was sharply denounced by Democrats and pro-choice advocates. “This is a priority for the Republicans,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in response. “So I just would like to speak individually to women across America: This is about respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs, the size and timing of your family or the rest, not to be determined by the insurance company or by the Republican ideological right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives. So this is a very important occasion where we’re pointing out very specifically what repeal of the (Affordable Care Act) will mean to women.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards also weighed in on Ryan’s announcement, which she’d preemptively been tweeting about using the hashtag #ProtectOurCare. “Defunding Planned Parenthood is dangerous to people’s health, it’s unpopular, and it would leave people across the country without care,” Richards said, vowing Republicans would not prevail in their ambition to take down her organization. “They cannot afford to have basic reproductive health care attacked. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and we’re going to be here for 100 more.” Richards then took to Twitter and posted the phone number to Ryan’s office and urged women to get involved by calling to register their disapproval.