Interview: California Planned Parenthood president discusses what can be on the Supreme Court chopping block

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — “A danger to the health and well being of millions of Americans,” that’s what the President of Planned Parenthood in California has called the newest Justice on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Confirmed one week before Election Day in America, many who opposed her placement on the court are concerned about Barrett’s conservative, charismatic Catholic background and refusal to answer questions about reproductive rights mean there are troubling times ahead when it comes to healthcare choices.

Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land since 1973, but a newly reconstituted Supreme Court could mean abortion rights in America are on the verge of disappearing.

“I think we can all agree that Roe v. Wade and access to reproductive health care certainly in threat,” said Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood California. “The culture of our country has been used to be living with those freedoms, and we know that 77% of them do not want Roe v. Wade overturned.”

Although Planned Parenthood is often connected with abortion, the organization has 108 health centers throughout California, which also provide primary care, prenatal care, preventative care and STI treatments.

“We serve over 85% Medicaid patients [in California] … a quarter of a million of patients a year,” she said. “We’re an important part of that safety net.”

With the Affordable Care Act potentially on the chopping block in the next few weeks, Hicks said she worries about what happens to patients in need of and lack access to health care, although California has codified many of the provisions in ACA.

“We need to ensure our state is investing appropriately so we can treat patients. Rights don’t have any meaning if you don’t have access to care,” Hicks continued. “We still live in a state where that access is determined by your ZIP code or income, and we need to make sure we fix that.”

With many out of work or struggling due to COVID-19 shutdowns, safety nets for healthcare services could be eroding at a time when they’re more important than usual, she added.

“In the time of a pandemic, the argument … of taking away healthcare is crazy,” Hicks said. 

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