Medicaid expansion doesn’t include abortion

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I recently received an anti-abortion mailer that says three misleading things about Medicaid expansion, now on the table in Idaho:

1. “We estimate Plannned Parenthood will get millions in new tax-dollar funding every year — unless the Legislature takes action.”

Planned Parenthood will not get a penny for abortions from Medicaid expansion in Idaho. (Kaiser Family Foundation). Nor in any other state: the federal law passed in 1977, the Hyde Amendment, forbids the use of federal funds for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. Planned Parenthood will get funding for health services including; health screenings and access to contraception. If you want to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, increase access to family planning services.

2. “Planned Parenthood of Idaho announced in December that it would no longer be providing basic health care services to women and girls. For years they have masqueraded as a legitimate health care provider. No more.”

False, according to the Planned Parenthood in Boise. Don’t believe me? Call or google them, but don’t take the word from a anonymous flyer with an agenda that showed up in your mailbox or email.

3. “We are asking the Legislature to direct Medicaid monies toward the hundreds of federally-qualified health care centers in Idaho that can give women real health care — without the dark politics.”

FQHCs cannot handle the numbers of women who currently rely on Planned Parenthood or other Title X-supported providers. For every 1,000 women who lose access to publicly funded family planning, 288 new unintended pregnancies result and put women at greater risk for homelessness, family hunger, poor birth outcomes, and long-term dependence on publicly-funded programs. For every $1 invested in family planning services, the state saves at least $7. In Idaho, the 30,000 or so women who are in the gap will be able to avoid abortions. (There have been over a thousand abortions a year in Idaho since 2006.)

Title X services provided by Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho prevented an estimated* 5,950 unintended pregnancies and 2,030 abortions, and saved over $40M in health care costs in 2016 alone.

The solution to the abortion controversy is to support contraceptive use by both sexes. Planned Parenthood is part of that solution. It is far more humane (and cheaper) to pay for health screenings and contraceptive use than any other solution. All women and men have the right to plan families. Medicaid Expansion is a good way to offer basic health care services to women and girls.

When people send out misinformation to influence voters, it is impossible to have a reasonable conversation. Historically, this type of dark politics has followed wherever anti-abortion forces are in play. Let’s get our facts straight and find a compromise solution.

And call your representatives and tell them Idahoans voted for Medicaid expansion, no conditions required.

NANCY GERTH

Sagle

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