Letter: Paulsen’s constituents support Planned Parenthood

To the editor:

The March 17 article “AHCA: Rep. Erik Paulsen Weighs in on Republican Health Care Bill” concluded with Congressman Paulsen’s statement that he plans to continue regularly taking feedback from his constituents on important legislative issues.

Although the American Health Care Act was withdrawn, I hope Congressman Paulsen still intends to consider his constituents’ views on crucial health care matters, particularly in forthcoming votes concerning the federal budget. The congressman should remember that defunding Planned Parenthood is both dangerous and unpopular, as multiple peaceful protests at his district office have already demonstrated.

Defunding Planned Parenthood would prevent patients who rely on Medicaid – as 38 percent of Minnesotan Planned Parenthood patients do – from receiving health care there. This means that well over 20,000 people per year in Minnesota alone would no longer be able to access birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, and annual health exams at Planned Parenthood. Federal Medicaid funding is never used for abortions. This is an issue of patients losing basic health care necessities.

Minnesotans are well aware that Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider in our state and nationwide. Polls in 2016 demonstrated that 69 percent of Minnesotans would like funding for Planned Parenthood’s contraceptive and family planning services to either remain the same or increase. If Congress continues to pursue an agenda of defunding Planned Parenthood, Congressman Paulsen should be true to his word and bear in mind the opinions of the people he represents.

Abigail Trevor