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Anti-Choice Zealots Don't Care About Depriving Poor and Minorities of Cancer Screenings, Birth Control

Conservative efforts to restrict reproductive rights at the state level are an attack on the poor and minorities.

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The law focuses on abortion, but won’t these Medicaid cuts limit people’s access to other health services like STD testing and prevention?

Cockrum: Let’s be clear. Abortion has absolutely  nothing to do with public funding of Planned Parenthood Indiana. The $1.4 million in Medicaid reimbursements PPIN receives each year are only for  preventive care—services such as Pap tests, breast exams, STD testing and treatment and birth control. Not a penny of the funds goes toward abortion. The Hyde Amendment already prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion. So, what the state of Indiana has done is effectively cut off 9,300 Medicaid patients from their preferred provider of reproductive health care.

So if a woman on Medicaid comes in for, say, her birth control pills, she’ll be turned away?

Cockrum: PPIN [has been] covering the costs of established Medicaid patients’ care in our health centers. However, we cannot afford to do so indefinitely—we are only able to continue because of the huge outpouring of gifts from around the nation, in response to Indiana becoming the first state where a Planned Parenthood was defunded. We worry that Medicaid patients will face barriers to STD testing and other preventive care if this law remains in effect. Supporters of the law claim there are other providers. However, it’s unclear whether they are located as conveniently as our health centers, whether they have the same patient-friendly hours, if they are accepting new Medicaid patients, and if they have waiting lists.

In your opinion, has race played a role in this?

Cockrum: Supporters of the law never mentioned race in the debate, although some opponents questioned if the legislation wasn’t being sought because it was minorities who would be most adversely affected. When asked by a reporter if this legislation was an attack on women, one of our patients responded, “It’s an attack on the ‘hood.” She went on to say that it’s those in lower-income neighborhoods who are being most affected—neighborhoods where there are often minorities.


Click here for Cockrum’s reaction to the federal assist. 

To help support reproductive health care for poor folk in Indiana,  click here.  

You can follow anti-choice laws, state-by-state  here


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