Chicago women voice support for Planned Parenthood

Chicago Women Voice Support for Planned Parenthood
The Wicker Park Planned Parenthood, one of seven located in the Chicago area. (Stephanie Rothman/Medill)

By Stephanie Rothman

As the Trump administration moves to defund Planned Parenthood, funding for centers in Illinois are under threat.

There are seven Planned Parenthood health centers in Chicago, and defunding them would leave many women in the Chicago area in need.

“I am at high-risk for ovarian cancer and breast cancer,” said Yvonne Merill, Chicago resident. “So cheap free testing is really nice.”

Planned Parenthood provided her with affordable birth control services such as the birth control pill and an Intrauterine Device (IUD) as well as other female healthcare needs.

Maja Cho, another Chicago resident, said that without federal funding her local Planned Parenthood Center wouldn’t be able to offer an affordable payment plan.

“Without their sliding scale payment, I wouldn’t be able to have my yearly Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) checkup, affordable birth control, and routine pap test,” Cho said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, about $390 million, 87 percent of the total paid out by the federal government, comes through Medicaid payments. If the government goes through with defunding, that payment would be reduced by $235 million over the 2016-2025 period.

“If defunded there wouldn’t be reimbursement for care,” said Julie Lynn, Planned Parenthood Illinois Manager of External Affairs.  “A lot of our patients are on Medicaid. If defunded, it could affect a lot of our patients.”

After moving to Chicago in 2005, Andersonville resident Jennifer Mierisch said attending Planned Parenthood was the simplest thing she could do for her health in her new city. She said knowing that she could trust their professionalism, not worry about health insurance, and pay on a sliding scale based on her income was extremely beneficial.

“I hate the idea of PP losing federal funding because then it couldn’t be such a wonderful resource for women and offer a sliding scale fee structure.” Mierisch said.  “Losing funding would hurt poor women the most.”

Lynn said there will always be a constant concern that Planned parenthood could be defunded. But she added Planned Parenthood Illinois is always vigilant and will ensure that patients are of paramount importance.

“Planned Parenthood has been around for over 100 years and we’ve fought the fight for patients and will again because they are our number one priority,” Lynn said.

Thursday Planned Parenthood Illinois Action will host a sold-out fundraiser at City Winery in honor of the anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade. A rally to defend Planned Parenthood will follow on February 11.

Photo at top: The Wicker Park Planned Parenthood, one of seven located in the Chicago area. (Stephanie Rothman/MEDILL)