Democrat Control of Senate may save Planned Parenthood

The House of Representatives passed an amendment to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. It would disable the organization from aiding women financially. The Republicans control the House, while the Senate is controlled by the Democrats, making it unlikely that the cuts will go through.

Congressman Bill Owens, who represents the 23rd Congressional District, which includes Oswego County, voted against the motion when GOP presented it to the House of Representatives.

"The vast majority of what Planned Parenthood does is women’s health and in times like these we need to do what we can to further [health] programs for women," his communications director, Sean Magers, said.

Elizabeth Burns, the director of the Walker Health Center, said she is concerned about the proposed amendment.

"I am concerned about loss of funding that provides access for excellent women’s health care including annual gynecological exams, birth control, sexually transmitted disease testing, and cancer screenings," Burns said. "Costs of care are based on a sliding fee scale and are affordable for low-income individuals."

She added, "If funds are cut, services will be decreased and the cost of care increased. Women may not be able to afford the increased cost of care and choose not to go for regular health care."

"In an attempt to rid Planned Parenthood of the abortion statistic, cutting the budget for the entire program is not the answer," Magers said. "Projects across the board should be cut modestly rather than defunding any one program. Program administrators can adjust to that much better than say a 15 percent cut."

Because the senate will likely dismiss the amendment, Magers said it’s time to "Throw politics out the door."

The Republican Party is looking to start working with Democratic representatives to create a way to save money without targeting a single association.

"The interesting situation right now is that the bill will die in the Senate and won’t be signed by the president," Magers said. "The Republicans are producing a two-week funding bill which will look more moderate. It will aim for us to get through two weeks so the two sides can come together rather than defunding any one organization."

Hypothetically, if the amendment passes, it would not affect any of the Planned Parenthood branches to the point of shutting them down. "[The amendment] does not affect SUNY Health Services like Walker Health Center," Burns said. "SUNY Oswego Student Health Services, Counseling Services and Lifestyles are covered by the Student Health Fee. Students pay this on their tuition bill."