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Planned Parenthood Arizona bracing for impact with potential vote on Affordable Care Act

Posted at 6:39 AM, Jul 03, 2017

As senators ready for a potential vote on changes to the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood Arizona is bracing for impact. 

The President of the Arizona Clinic Network says they've already begun to plan for building larger clinics to consolidate their smaller offices.

A new Planned Parenthood, in fact, is close to opening in Tempe.

Part of their fight is also education and myth busting about which services they provide the most and would be most impacted by funding changes. 

As it stands, the latest healthcare proposal would cut insurance for 400,000 Arizonans. For those using state Medicaid, also known as Access, Planned Parenthood would be off limits. Also, federal funding for all women covering preventive care would be gone. 

A lot of opposition is over abortion services but Planned Parenthood Arizona says 87% of its patients come for preventive care, cancer screening and birth control. 

"If you're in the grocery store every fourth woman you walk past has been to Planned Parenthood for health education, health information and healthcare services," said President Bryan Howard, "This isn't a political question anymore this is a life or death question."

Half of Planned Parenthood's patients rely on Title X funding, government grant money for low income families, that pays for birth control, pregnancy counseling and STD treatment. 

Governor Doug Ducey has already signed a law to cut Planned Parenthood off from Title X. Conservative Center for Arizona Policy lobbied for the change that now gives the State Department of Health control of applying for and distributing Title X funds.

However, by law, the state cannot contract with an abortion provider even though Title X money is prohibited from being used for abortions, so the money will have to go to other clinics. 

"You give them more funds, you give them more grants, they can provide these services, there should not be any change to abortion rates because of directing funds away from Planned Parenthood." said Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Harrod.

"More women will receive services, not less." Harris believes any funding to Planned Parenthood indirectly supports the practice of abortions. 

The next time Arizona can apply for Title X is in 2019.