Way up high on the list of priorities of the newly empowered Republican-controlled Congress is the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the well-known and highly competent not-for-profit organization that provides a broad array of reproductive health care services to women throughout the country.

Members of Congress want to defund Planned Parenthood simply because it also provides abortions — which are anathema to many Republicans despite the fact that they are not only legal but are constitutionally protected, as has been affirmed by the Supreme Court in three different landmark decisions.

Another thing to know is that it is already illegal under what is known as the Hyde amendment for federal dollars to be spent on abortions. So while it is true that part of Planned Parenthood’s mission is to provide abortions to women who want them, none of the money it receives from the U.S. government pays for that work.

Finally, and most importantly, forbidding Planned Parenthood clinics to get Medicaid reimbursements for treating patients will cripple the delivery of reproductive health care services to millions of people, particularly women, most of them on Medicaid.

Planned Parenthood clinics around the country see about 2.5 million people annually. Many are lower-income, and the vast majority come not for abortions but for essential health care: breast examinations and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and infections, contraception and family planning, urinary tract infection treatments, and other primary care services. Planned Parenthood’s annual report for the year 2014 estimates that abortions represented only 3 percent of the care provided by the organization.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES