Women say Planned Parenthood does more than just perform abortions

Updated: Aug. 25, 2017 at 5:38 PM EDT
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. - Women's health advocates are speaking out after Governor Henry McMaster announced plans to stop all state funding to any medical facility affiliated with abortions.

Natalie Mullis has used the services provided by Planned Parenthood before.

"People don't respond well to trying to marginalize the rights of women," Mullis said. "It's ignorant because these clinics provide so much more. Any of the state funding that is accessing Planned Parenthood is earmarked to not go to abortions."

She says when she and her husband decided to start a family, "We were at the point in things when money wasn't that great."

As a small business owner, she says health care options were limited.

"Finding health care in South Carolina – a health insurance plan that covered pregnancy that I would be able to purchase and afford – it just didn't exist," Mullis said.

There was Medicaid, but first, she still needed to confirm the pregnancy.

"I called my obstetrician and they quoted $200 just to do a pregnancy test, the same as I could do in my bathroom," Mullis said. "When I called Planned Parenthood, they said it was $25. I could come in that day."

Gareth Fenley says she first used Planned Parenthood as a college student.

"I didn't have a lot of money, I don't think I had any health insurance," Fenley said.

She says through different jobs, different insurance policies, or lack thereof.

"It's been there for me for decades," Fenley said. "I trust them to be able to check me out and make sure that I get the very best diagnosis and treatment for women's sexual and reproductive health."

These women say Planned Parenthood has been an important resource in their lives, never for an abortion.

"I know women that have gone there just for general health checkups, just because it's an affordable service: birth control, pap smears, breast exams," Mullis said.

Planned Parenthood released a statement saying this funding is already restricted from being used to pay for abortions. The women I spoke to believe an end to funding will only hurt Medicaid patients, and people looking for affordable women's healthcare.

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