These controversies have strengthened calls for defunding. According to polls released by the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List earlier this month, a majority of respondents in states that will be "battleground states" in the 2018 Senate races – like North Dakota, Florida, and Ohio – opposed taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.
In his town hall comments, Speaker Ryan stressed: "We don't want to effectively commit taxpayer money to an organization providing abortions, but we want to make sure that people get their coverage."
"We believe that this can better be done by putting that money in federal community health centers," he added. "They are vastly bigger in network, there are so many more of them, and they provide these kinds of services without all the controversy surrounding this issue."
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, such health centers are publicly-funded and exist in all 50 states, almost 10,000 in total, compared to around 650 Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide. The health centers served over 24 million people in 2015, while Planned Parenthood says it serves around 2.5 million per year.
There are also thousands of other rural health clinics that offer services including primary care and first response, as well as some vaccinations, though these facilities are not required to offer as many services as federally qualified health centers are. Some 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S. also offer help for expectant mothers.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the "main purpose" of federally qualified health centers "is to enhance the provision of primary care services in medically-underserved urban and rural communities."
These health centers do not perform abortions but they do provide services like pre-natal and perinatal care, diabetes screening, pap smears, checkups and mammograms, something Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has admitted her clinics do not provide, despite claims that they do. Planned Parenthood only provides referrals for mammograms, not the procedures themselves.
Would Planned Parenthood survive?
Removing federal funding from Planned Parenthood would not necessarily mean that the organization would shut its doors.
From 2011-2015, Planned Parenthood's annual reports indicate that its revenue exceeded expenses by more than $300 million.
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The organization also fundraises, and claims that the threat of defunding has considerably upped contributions from private donors.
The Congressional Budget Office in 2015 considered the potential consequences of defunding Planned Parenthood for a year. It found that it was uncertain whether the organization would be able to replace the lost funding.
"If none of the federal funds were replaced," the budget office said, some customers wouldn't receive any services that they would have received at Planned Parenthood, while others would go to other clinics accepting Medicaid payments.
"If almost all federal funds were replaced, CBO expects that most Medicaid beneficiaries currently served by Planned Parenthood would continue to obtain services from Planned Parenthood, but at no cost to Medicaid," they said.
Is it enough?
If Planned Parenthood did close its doors, would federally qualified health centers and pregnancy centers be able to handle an influx of patients seeking health care other than birth control or abortions?