President-elect Donald Trump, who praised the organization on the campaign trail for doing “very good work” for women, has vowed to defund the organization. And on Thursday, the Republican Party, which controls Congress, said that the organization will lose federal funding if their repeal of Obamcare is successful.
But Richards spoke to Rolling Stone about how the organization plans to survive the Trump years. “It’s very serious. The fear here is about losing access to basic preventive care for millions of people,” she told the magazine. “But we can win.”
The Hyde Amendment currently prevents federal funding from being used to perform abortions in most cases. The federal funding Planned Parenthood does receive most often goes to performing other medical services, including cancer screenings, for mostly low-income women. “This is literally whether a young man in Texas can come to us for an STI testing, or whether a woman who has a lump in her breast can come to us in Ohio to have a breast exam or be referred for screenings, or whether a college student or a young person anywhere in the country can come to us for family planning,” Richards said. “There’s no one to take our place providing low- and moderate-income people with preventive health care.”
Making defunding Planned Parenthood part of the Obamacare repeal could put the repeal in jeopardy, according to CNN. Two female Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they won’t commit to supporting the bill so long as it has the Planned Parenthood provision in it. The Senate Republicans need 50 out of their 52 members to vote in favor of the measure, and Senator Rand Paul has also said he won’t vote for the measure as a protest over the budget. That means the Republicans may need Collins and Murkowski’s votes.
“We will make sure that every single senator who votes on the issue of whether patients can come to Planned Parenthood is fully aware of the millions of people who are going to lose health care, including thousands in the states they represent,” Richards told Rolling Stone.
But regardless of what happens, Richard says the organization won’t back down from providing women with health care. “Part of winning, to me, is not only in an electoral or legislative sense. It is finding new ways to take away barriers for folks who are looking for information, education or health care services,” she said. “We’re going to have to be more creative and more disruptive.”