NPR Fact-Check Explains Consequences Of Conservative Media's Push To Defund Planned Parenthood

NPR: Defunding Planned Parenthood “Could Have Led To More Spending” And “More Unintended Pregnancies”

An NPR fact-check explained the harmful consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood, reporting that such a move would disproportionately impact low-income people and may cost taxpayers money in the long-run.

During an August 3 event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush suggested that women's health providers such as Planned Parenthood are over-funded by the government, saying “I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues.” The renewed push to defund Planned Parenthood has been propelled by right-wing media citing the Center for Medical Progress' deceptively edited videos to push misinformation about the health care provider's vital services, and going so far as to call for a government shutdown “if that is what it takes” to defund the organization.

According to an August 5 NPR fact-check, defunding Planned Parenthood could have major consequences, including impacting low-income people, who comprise a large majority of Planned Parenthood's patients. Pointing to a letter from the Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall, the report explained that although the CBO has yet to come to a “firm conclusion” on the matter, defunding the organization “could have led to more spending (not to mention more unplanned pregnancies)”:

Title X and Medicaid are programs that target low- to middle-income Americans, and many of Planned Parenthood's patients are likewise lower-income. As of 2012, 79 percent of people receiving services from Planned Parenthood lived at 150 percent of the federal poverty level or lower (that comes out to around $18,500 for a single adult), according to a March Government Accountability Office report.


Defunding the group might cut some spending and accomplish one Republican anti-abortion goal, but it could also backfire, as Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall wrote this week in a letter addressing S. 1881.

Though the CBO didn't do a full, formal analysis of the bill, Hall pointed out that while the bill could cut government spending, it could also increase it. While displacing Title X funding from Planned Parenthood to other clinics, the bill could have cut Medicaid spending as some beneficiaries might fail or decide not to seek out family planning services at other clinics. But on the other hand, it could have led to more spending (not to mention more unplanned pregnancies):

“CBO also expects that some of the services that would not be used if S. 1881 was enacted would include those that help women avert pregnancies and deliveries. Reduced use of such services would be expected to lead to additional births, increasing federal spending, primarily for Medicaid. In addition, some of those children would themselves qualify for Medicaid and possibly for other federal programs.”