Planned Parenthood: Changes to health care bill could have devas - Tucson News Now

Planned Parenthood: Changes to health care bill could have devastating effects

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Big changes to health care could impact tens of thousands of people in southern Arizona.

As Republican lawmakers work to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaders of Planned Parenthood in Tucson are speaking out.

Advocates say as it's written now, the bill could have devastating, even dangerous, effects for women in Pima County.

“It’s mainly frustration," said Melissa Garcia, health outreach coordinator at Planned Parenthood in Tucson. "I’m disappointed that in 2017 we are having to deal with this and that, as women, we are still being seen as some toy that they can move around and play around with our health care.”

In a press release, officials with the nonprofit wrote: “When politicians say they want to defund Planned Parenthood, what they are really saying is they want to block millions across the country and thousands of people in Arizona from access to basic health care — cancer screenings, birth control, well woman exams — that they depend on. Planned Parenthood supporters are rallying and organizing to make sure this does not happen.”

Organization leaders say if Planned Parenthood were to not exist, sexually-transmitted disease rates, teen pregnancies and cancer could go up across southern Arizona.

"I’m frustrated, because denying access to affordable health coverage is simply denying women the access to make our own decisions of where to receive the care that we need," Garcia said.

The nonprofit says the new health care bill could hurt 33,000 patients in the state.

It is now calling on Representative Martha McSally to vote no on the bill as it’s written Friday morning.

Rep. McSally sent Tucson News Now this exclusive statement:

"Congresswoman McSally has been a strong advocate for ensuring women, especially low-income women, have access to reproductive care and quality, affordable health care services.

She led her colleagues in sending a letter to House leadership requesting that, in the event funds are withheld from Planned Parenthood in an Obamacare repeal package, those funds be redirected to Community Health Centers.

There are only two Planned Parenthood facilities in Southern Arizona, while there are 28 Community Health Centers that provide care to nearly 160,000 people.

These Community Health Centers offer all of the non-abortion services that Planned Parenthood offers, and many services--like mammograms--that
Planned Parenthood does not.

If funds are withheld from Planned Parenthood, these Community Health Centers should receive additional funding to provide women the health care they need."

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