BEND, OR -- Part of the GOP healthcare proposal would make significant cuts to Planned Parenthood. President of Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette Stacy Cross says if approved, the cuts would be devastating. "We would not be able to get reimbursed for the care that we provide patients that come in using Medicaid. We don't get a blank check, we actually get reimbursed for the care that we provide. And, the care that they're talking about defunding - or not allowing us to get reimbursed for - is actually preventative care. So, it's life-saving cancer screenings, it's birth control, it's STD testing and treatment."
Conservatives have fought for years to de-fund the agency since they provide abortions; although, federal funds aren’t allowed to be used for those services due to the Hyde Amendment. "About 6% of our services here in Oregon are abortion services; 94% of the work that we do is preventative work. We do more than any other organization, not only here in the state of Oregon but across the country, to prevent unplanned pregnancy."
The Columbia-Willamette division manages Bend's Planned Parenthood clinic, which is the agency's only Oregon health clinic east of the Cascades. "Of the counties that we - Columbia-Willamette - provide services in, four of our counties, we serve more than 50% of the low-income women for reproductive healthcare needs. And, there's not going to be another place for these people to go." According to national statistics, about 54% of Planned Parenthood health centers are in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals, rural or medically underserved areas.