(Reuters) - Planned Parenthood, the U.S. medical services provider that could lose federal funding under the Republican-controlled House of Representatives’ healthcare overhaul bill, said it would hold dozens of demonstrations outside the local offices of members of Congress across the country on Friday and Saturday.
The protests will target some of the 217 Republican representatives who voted to pass legislation on Thursday that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the healthcare law passed in 2010 under former President Barack Obama.
“We’re standing together as women, people of colour, immigrants, and as people of faith, and we’re fighting back to make sure that every single politician in America knows that we will not stand for ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood,” Kelly Robinson, the national organising director of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement.
The bill still needs approval by the U.S. Senate. President Donald Trump, a Republican, praised the bill’s passage in the House but acknowledged that some of its provisions may change before it becomes law.
A part of the Republicans’ proposed American Health Care Act would prevent Planned Parenthood from being reimbursed for any of its services, including cancer screening and pre-natal care, through the Medicaid program for the poor. About 60 percent of the patients who use Planned Parenthood’s 600 or so clinics are on Medicaid or other federal public health programs.
Republican congressional offices from coast to coast were targeted on Friday, with protests planned at the offices of Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen in Morristown, New Jersey, Kevin Yoderice in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and Darrell Issa in Vista, California, among others.
Many Republicans oppose any funding for Planned Parenthood, citing religious grounds, because its services include abortions, although it receives no federal funding or reimbursement for abortions, as stipulated by federal law.
The Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy group, and other conservative policy groups praised the House bill as a tool to help limit access to abortions.
Planned Parenthood says the bill would harm 2.5 million people who rely on it for basic health services.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Dan Grebler