Kate-Madonna Hindes was just 25 when a Pap smear revealed she had cervical pre-cancer. By the time she was 26, it had progressed to stage 1 cancer.
“I was devastated,” Hindes, 35, of St. Paul, Minn., told InsideEdition.com. “I had a little girl that was just born.”
She went on to beat the disease three times. But during her most recent bout with cancer, she was faced with the possibility of needing a hysterectomy and losing the ability to have more children.
Instead, she was able to expand her family, thanks to guidance from Planned Parenthood, after believing her OBGYN did not offer the option through her normal insurance due to the cost of carrying her child to term.
“They sat down with me. They leveled with me. I was getting married, I was so excited, and they told me, ‘You should think about having a baby soon, or you’re going to lose your opportunity,'” Hindes said.
Miscarriages are more common among pregnant women battling cancer, she was told, and she was required to undergo more frequent testing to make sure her baby would be healthy.
Because her cancer did not invalidate the rest of her reproductive health care as a pre-existing condition thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed under President Obama’s administration in 2010, she was able to receive high quality care at Planned Parenthood that helped her carry her baby to term.
Today, Daniel is 4 years old, and is the younger brother to 11-year-old Ava. Hindes thanks Planned Parenthood for making it possible.
“They gave us Daniel,” she said. “They gave us life.”
On May 4, the Republican House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which will replace the ACA, or Obamacare, if it is passed in the Senate. As well as concerns that the bill will reduce coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and raise prices for low-income and minority populations, the AHCA will also include a provision that would effectively “defund” Planned Parenthood, reducing access to desperately needed health care for women like Hindes .
If passed, the AHCA stipulates a one-year block on any financial reimbursement through Medicaid for a “prohibited entity” – defined as any organization that offers abortion. Planned Parenthood is one of the organizations that falls under this category.
Sixty percent of Planned Parenthood patients access care through Medicaid. For those who are uninsured, Planned Parenthood also has programs in place to help people eligible for Medicaid get the insurance they need.
Blocking Medicaid patients from obtaining health care from Planned Parenthood would cause 390,000 women to lose access to health care, and up to 650,000 could face reduced access to preventative care, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
“It is extremely devastating and it is another extreme attack in the most vulnerable in our communities,” Alencia Johnson, the director of constituency communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told InsideEdition.com.
Notably, before the bill was passed by the House, abortion services were not covered by tax dollars, with the exception of extreme circumstances such as pregnancy from rape or incest, or if the pregnancy will become a danger to the woman’s life, as stipulated by the Hyde Amendment.
In fact, it is all the other crucial services Planned Parenthood offers, which are now under threat, that shaped the positive experiences of women like Hindes.