ILMINGTON, N.C. — As the debate rages in Washington over funding for abortion providers, STAT ventured far from the capital to take a close look inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.
In this video, Suzanne Wertman, a certified nurse midwife at a Planned Parenthood health center in this city, says the controversy in Washington over funding is difficult to absorb.
“This is my job,” she states firmly. “Every day I take care of women and sometimes it’s putting an implant in and sometimes it’s holding somebody’s hand after they’ve just found out they have herpes and sometimes it’s abortion care.”
Planned Parenthood has long been political fodder for Republicans and Democrats alike. The White House and Republican-led Congress currently have their sights set on defunding health providers that offer abortion services.
Here in Wilmington, every Tuesday and Friday, a small group of protesters stands on the street corner adjacent to the health center. They are unable to demonstrate directly outside the facility, since it is located on private property. A local Catholic group hands out flyers and brandishes handmade signs proclaiming, “Face it … abortion kills a person!!” and “Pray to end abortion.”
Planned Parenthood receives reimbursement through federal programs like Medicaid and Title X. However, Thursday’s potential unveiling of the American Health Care Act may make future federal assistance uncertain. Republican leaders in Congress are seeking to take away any sources of funding to organizations that offers abortion-related services.
“They think that by getting rid of us they will get no abortions, right?” Wertman ponders. “We’ve had that time before Roe v. Wade, and that was a time when we had Planned Parenthood but we didn’t have legal abortion, and it was horrible. Women died. Women die and babies die when they don’t have access to care, pure and simple.”