Planned Parenthood patients and doctors went to Capitol Hill to oppose the Republican plan to repeal health care reform.
Planned Parenthood took the fight to the halls of the U.S. Capitol, sending patients and health care providers from the key states of Ohio and West Virginia to meet with their senators to voice opposition to the health care repeal bill.
The legislation — backed by Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — would gut funding for Planned Parenthood. Millions would lose access to quality care, including 13 million who would not have maternity care. Those provisions have contributed to the bill's intense unpopularity.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) has said she opposes the bill, citing its cuts to Medicaid, but it is still unclear if she will knuckle under pressure and fall in line with the rest of her party.
Planned Parenthood supporter Ashley Reece is 22 and from Morgantown, West Virginia, and spoke to Shareblue while visiting the Capitol for the first time.
Reece credits the organization with saving her life when she was a teenager suffering through serious health problems. She was told she was "too young" and "nobody even really listened" or took her seriously when she first raised the problems she was experiencing. Then a friend recommended that she visit Planned Parenthood, and going to see them for screening turned out to be the "best decision I have ever made."
Planned Parenthood "respected me as a human being," she said. After her screening, she was referred to a specialist, who uncovered severe dysplasia and found that her uterine lining was half the size it should be.
Cancer was not far away, and she believes that the care from Planned Parenthood saved her life.
The Medicaid expansion enabled by Obamacare has helped her to afford expensive medication, and she told Shareblue that without it, "I will have to choose between following my dreams" and affording medication. She thinks that the Republican bill would hurt millions like her and in even more dangerous situations.
If she could speak to leaders like Ryan, Trump, and McConnell, Reece says she would implore them to look at the situations that working parents are in, and how the Medicaid system has allowed them to keep their children safe. Instead, they have been pursuing a course of action that would put the disadvantaged "in a worse spot."
Planned Parenthood supporters and millions of other Americans rely on the organization for their health care, and Medicaid plays a huge role in making it happen. The proposed Republican cuts would devastate women like Reece from coast to coast with the stroke of a pen.