WASHINGTON — Over 100 U.S. mayors recently added their names to a joint letter expressing opposition to defunding the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood.
The correspondence was addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
“We the undersigned mayors lead over 100 cities across the United States, representing big cities as well as rural areas and more than 30 million Americans. We write on behalf of these communities and families, and strongly oppose any legislation to ‘defund’ and shut down Planned Parenthood health centers,” it read.
“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,” the letter asserted.
The mayors contended that community health centers will not be able to handle the volume of traffic from Planned Parenthood if the organization were defunded.
“The reality is that if this blatant attack on health care access is passed by Congress, people will lose access to care because there are simply not enough health care providers to meet the need,” they stated. “In fact, despite false assertions, public health experts have resoundly said that community health centers could not absorb the flood of patients defunding Planned Parenthood would cause.”
The letter also claimed that the mayors know what is best for women in their area and how much they depend on Planned Parenthood.
“No one knows better than mayors how devastating it would be to take away health care and preventive services from this many people,” it asserted. “People go to Planned Parenthood because they know they will find health care professionals who are compassionate experts dedicated to reproductive and preventive health care. We know our communities, and we know they rely on the trusted care of Planned Parenthood.”
Signees included Mayors Mark Mitchell of Tempe, Arizona; Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California; Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C.; Buddy Dyer of Orlando, Florida; Martin Walsh of Boston, Massachusetts; Catherine Pugh of Baltimore, Maryland; Ethan Strimling of Portland, Maryland; Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte, North Carolina; Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas; Bill de Blasio of New York, New York; John Cranley of Cincinnati, Ohio; Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Michael Rawlings of Dallas, Texas.
As previously reported, Planned Parenthood’s newly-released annual report shows that the number of abortions performed by the organization last year were the highest since 2011, while the number of women using Planned Parenthood’s services in general continues to be the lowest in a decade.
The group’s tally showed that Planned Parenthood performed 328,348 abortions during the 2015-2016 fiscal year, and 2.8 million people were provided with contraceptives or other forms of birth control, down nearly one million from 2012 (2.9 million in 2014, 3.5 million in 2013 and 3.7 million in 2012).
While the provision of contraceptives was down and abortion was up, the organization’s taxpayer funding was also up to $554 million from $553 million the year before, and $528 million in 2013, which equated to 41 percent of its total income. It also received $257 million in private contributions.
$45 million of Planned Parenthood’s income was used for sex education—down three million from the year prior—and $38 million was used for public policy, or to influence abortion legislation. Despite its expenditures, it still garnered a $77 million dollar profit, labeled as “excess of revenue,” up from $58 million in 2014.