During a press conference on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the Republicans’ health care plan, boasting that “it will end funding to Planned Parenthood,” depriving low-income women across the nation of free mammograms and other health services offered by the organization.
Despite criticism that the plan would deprive millions of Americans of coverage, destabilize insurance markets and unfairly burden states, Ryan praised the legislation as “monumental, exciting conservative reform.”
“This is what we’ve been dreaming about doing,” the House Speaker told reporters. It’s a “conservative wish list,” the speaker said. Ryan then ticked off parts of the legislation that should thrill conservatives, before concluding that it gets “Washington out of the business of being a nanny state.”
Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s pledge to stop nannying the American people stopped short of women’s health care choices.
“It ends funding to Planned Parenthood and sends money to community centers,” Ryan boasted. What the bill actually does is stop federal Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood—that means stripping the organization of millions in federal funds. As Vox pointed out, that would hit poor women the hardest but impact anyone that relies on Planned Parenthood’s services if clinics are forced to close as a result.
Ryan’s pledge to defund Planned Parenthood comes on the same day as “A Day Without a Woman,” a nationwide protest highlighting the importance of women’s work.
As reproductive justice advocates have long argued, women’s productivity is inextricably bound to having the freedom to decide when to start a family. Furthermore, studies show that investing in women’s health has clear economic benefits.
Watch Ryan’s remarks in the video below: