Guest Opinions

Idaho can’t afford to lose the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood supporters protesting outside the Grove Hotel Thursday, where Rep. Raul Labrador was addressing the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce
Planned Parenthood supporters protesting outside the Grove Hotel Thursday, where Rep. Raul Labrador was addressing the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce bdentzer@idahostatesman.com

They are back at it. After the failure of the disastrous Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised bill last week. This version is even worse. It is even more extreme and takes further aim at women and families.

Week after week, President Trump and the GOP have put women’s health and rights on the chopping block. We are facing the worst political attacks on women’s health in a lifetime, from reinstating the global gag rule to eliminating protections for Title X family planning.

Trump has made it clear that women are in his political cross hairs.

As a woman, a mother and the chief operating officer at Planned Parenthood, I am alarmed to say the least.

I have three incredible children, and for nearly 25 years I have balanced the needs of my family and my work. Keeping my family running while putting myself through college and working up the ranks into a leadership position at Planned Parenthood was no easy feat. Now, I oversee clinical operations at one of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country. What I can say is, the work I put into my family and the work I put into my career go hand in hand.

Planned Parenthood is no stranger to political attacks. The latest attack, the ACA repeal, was widely rejected, yet lawmakers managed to pass it without even reading it. In my role, I see firsthand who is affected by these decisions. It is the women, men and young people who see us for lifesaving care and sexual education every day. Thousands would lose health care and low-income women would be prohibited from getting care like birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.

Congress is emboldening states to easily eliminate essential health benefits like maternity care and allowing insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions excessively high amounts for coverage, while also “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

As any mother knows, you put the needs of your family before the needs of your own. I feel the same way about our patients. Planned Parenthood works tirelessly to improve access to reproductive health care and provide people with information. Idaho can’t afford to lose health care services given its rural geography and provider shortage. Knowing this, our legislators need to put aside their own needs and look out for the people they represent.

I have a deep understanding for how many women and men rely on Planned Parenthood for quality, affordable health care. Planned Parenthood is an integral part of the health care safety net and has an irreplaceable role in providing family planning care.

The women in my life, and the Planned Parenthood patients we serve, would be deeply impacted by these backward policies.

For most all of us, we face many ups and downs, but what keeps me in the fight are my children and future generations. We need resources and safety nets in place that support all people. No matter what.

Rebecca Poedy-Gibron is the chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

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