AHCA could force Planned Parenthood clinics to close, employees say

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John Gerardi was happy with Thursday’s House passage of the American Health Care Act.

He’s the director at Central California Right to Life and talked to us about how the bill could affect Planned Parenthood.

“I don’t think I, as I a tax payer, and the millions and millions of pro-life tax payers just like me, I don’t think we should be forced to bankroll their activities,” Gerardi said. 

Gerardi says the new bill makes three big changes: cuts off subsidies for healthcare plans that cover abortions, gets rid of regulatory mandates placed on employers and cuts off $400 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

“They’re getting all of this federal money to bankroll their less-profitable activities, freeing up resources and time and what not,” Gerardi said. “To put toward abortion.” 

Pedro Elias with Planned Parenthood couldn’t confirm that figure, but says, it’s about more than abortion.

Elias says many in rural areas use Planned Parenthood as their primary healthcare provider.

“54% of Planned Parenthood health centers are located in underserved areas, rural areas, rural communities, so it would be an impact,” Elias said. “It’s already challenging for folks to access services, period.” 

Gerardi says the money will instead go to federally-qualified health centers, which Gerardi says, also offer a broader array of services than Planned Parenthood.

Local democratic leaders say, they’re concerned about the AHCA overall.

“People are going to lose coverage, there’s the possibility of some people losing coverage for pre-existing conditions,” Fresno County Democratic Party Chair Michael Evans said. “Healthcare is a right, and it is the role of government to help people, so Obamacare was moving in the right direction.” 

Elias promises to hold valley Republicans accountable.

“It was callous, it’s, it’s not fair for many, many of their constituents,” Elias said. “And we need to hold them accountable for their vote today.” 

Planned Parenthood officials tell us, they will be having a rally in protest tomorrow.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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