17 Pennsylvania mayors say don’t defund Planned Parenthood

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A bipartisan group of 106 mayors from 28 states, including 17 mayors from Pennsylvania, have signed a letter to Congressional leaders opposing efforts to “defund” Planned Parenthood, according to the family planning organization.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood would have a devastating effect, preventing millions of people with Medicaid coverage from accessing basic health care including birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers,” said the letter dated May 10.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week narrowly voted for a GOP health plan that would dramatically changing health funding and other parts of the Affordable Care Act. The GOP’s American Health Care Act, which is expected to face a tough battle in the Senate, would block federal Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for a year.

Planned Parenthood has been prohibited since 1976 from using federal funds for abortions, which made up 3 percent of its medical services last year. Polls show voters are not in favor of denying Planned Parenthood’s funding for non-abortion care, which includes routine gynecological care and cancer screening, among many other services.

More mayors from Pennsylvania than from any other state signed the letter, according to Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.

In April, Pennsylvania state Sen. John Eichelberger Jr. (R-Blair) introduced a bill that would effectively cut Planned Parenthood reimbursements provided by the state Department of Human Services. The measure, approved by the Senate Finance Committee, is now before the full Senate, but Gov. Wolf has pledged a veto if it reaches him.

In Pennsylvania, about 90,000 people rely on the 31 Planned Parenthood health centers for care that includes cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and well women exams, the organization said.

The Pennsylvania mayors who signed the letter are:

  • Ambler: Jeanne Sorg
  • Braddock: John K. Fetterman
  • Carlisle: Timothy A. Scott
  • Downingtown: Josh Maxwell
  • Doylestown: Ron Strouse
  • Easton: Sal Panto, Jr.
  • Harrisburg: Eric Papenfuse
  • Hatboro: Norman Hawkes
  • Jenkintown: Ed Foley
  • Lancaster: J. Richard Gray
  • Millbourne: Thomas Kramer
  • Philadelphia: Jim Kenney
  • Pittsburgh: Bill Peduto
  • Stroudsburg: Tarah D. Probst
  • Turtle Creek: Kelley Kelley
  • West Chester: Carolyn Comitta
  • York: C. Kim Bracey

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