Where Should A Woman Get Her Healthcare: Planned Parenthood or an Overcrowded ER?

This is part of a series of posts on Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, who is running for election in District 42. Read the other posts in this series:

Lolita Mancheno-Smoak is a Republican candidate running for the House of Delegates in the 42nd district. In an interview recently, she made some…interesting? bonkers? or just plain old out-of-touch statements about women’s health. When asked a question about defunding Planned Parenthood, Lolita responded by saying, “Defund Planned Parenthood? I would have to say yes.

Does Lolita Know What Defunding Planned Parenthood Would Mean For Women In Our Community?

Because defunding Planned Parenthood has become such a Republican talking point, I wonder if Lolita even knows what defunding Planned Parenthood would really mean for the women and families in our community.

Planned Parenthood isn’t just a place where women go to get abortions. It is a community center where women go to learn about and access the right birth control for our needs. It is a place where women go for compassionate and safe healthcare after sexual assault. It provides women with cancer and STI screenings. And yes, it is one of the very few places in Virginia where a woman can go when she has decided that ending a pregnancy and having an abortion is the right choice for her and her family.

If Planned Parenthood were defunded and had to shut its doors, women—especially those who rely on Planned Parenthood to provide affordable healthcare—would have a much harder time accessing care. Instead of getting care at Planned Parenthood, many women would be forced into overcrowded and costly ERs for even basic preventative care. That is especially true if you are low-income or lack health insurance.  All of us, regardless of income, zip code, or insurance coverage, deserve access to healthcare in a safe and affordable doctor’s office.

ERs aren’t designed to do the work Planned Parenthood does, and they shouldn’t be the last line of defense for those who need basic services and can’t get them anywhere else. If Lolita gets her wish and Planned Parenthood is defunded, that’s exactly what could happen.

Women Are Sick Of These Attacks On Our Healthcare

It seems like every day, there is a new attack on women’s health, and women are over it. Just last week, the House passed a 20-week ban on abortion. Also last week, Trump announced that he is giving employers the right to take away women’s access to birth control (and Republican candidate for Attorney General, John Adams, paved the way to make it happen.) And all of that was just in the last week. Next week it will be something else.

Women are sick and tired of these attacks and just want to live our lives, knowing that if and when they need to go to the doctor or make a decision about our bodies, they have the ability to do that. But if Lolita and other Republicans like her get their way, that won’t be possible because there will be nowhere to go.

Vote November 7 to Support Women’s Health

But hope is not lost! We have the opportunity to fight back against these attacks on women’s health by voting on November 7 for candidates who will support women in making our own choices and won’t restrict access to healthcare. I know that when I go to the polls, I’m going to make sure that my vote goes to candidates that support me, accessible health care, and the women in my community. I would encourage you do to the same.