North Coast officials respond to potential defunding of Planned Parenthood

Photo: Associated Press

EUREKA, Calif. - House speaker Paul Ryan released official word that health care repeal legislation includes Planned Parenthood services last week. His comments prompted an uproar from North Coast officials promising to fight the move.

"What we are doing right now is having many conversations with our state elected officials, because we really are counting on the state of California in standing with us and fighting back these efforts in Washington D.C.," said Gilda Gonzales, the interim CEO of Planned Parenthood, Northern California.

State Senator Mike McGuire represents the 2nd Senate District on the North Coast. He also responded.

"What we know is that Planned Parenthood serves the majority of poor women in rural California. In fact, 91 percent of Planned Parenthood's patient population in Humboldt County live below the poverty line. The impact on women all throughout the North Coast and Humboldt County would be devastating. Fourteen thousand women would be without a primary healthcare provider in Humboldt County."

But anti-abortion groups like Humboldt County Pro-Life are calling the defunding efforts a victory.

"If they were able to defund Planned Parenthood and that saves human lives; I think that's a good thing," said Humboldt Pro-Life's founder and attorney, Bill Bertain. His comments come as criticism that the organization provides abortion services.

Planned Parenthood said it not only provides sexual and reproductive services, but that it offers a litany of other services as well. Some health centers test for anemia, cholesterol, diabetes, breast exams, flu vaccines and thyroid screening. Backers of the organization say that defunding it would be a major threat to people's health.

The non-partisan congressional budget office says the defunding measure would take away roughly $400 million dollars in Medicaid money from the group in the year after it is enacted. That means roughly 400,000 could lose access to care: 155,000 in Northern California alone.