States increase funding for family planning clinics

Several states have started taking the tab of family planning services at clinics run by Planned parenthood, who scrapped a $ 260 million federal funding package last year because of a Trump administration rule prohibit clinics from referring women for abortions.

States like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Hawaii are already providing new funding, and the Democratic governors of Connecticut and Pennsylvania have offered to take money from state budgets to counter the effects of the domestic supplier’s fallout with the republican presidential administration.

The proposals sparked political debate on abortion at the state level, with some opponents claiming it was government endorsement of abortion and inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. .

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has allocated $ 1.2 million to Planned Parenthood in his new budget proposal. Connecticut Catholic Conference executive director Christopher Healy criticized it as a purely political act.

“Where is the urgent need to do this?” Healy said, arguing that Planned Parenthood doesn’t need taxpayer dollars. “They have the ability to raise funds.”

Lamont said he wanted to help cover a planned shortfall for Planned Parenthood to ensure Connecticut women have access to all the health services they need. A spokesperson for Lamont said the administration did not want the abortion debate to block access to things like contraception and cervical cancer screening.

“Look, it’s the law of the land. Here in a state like this, we believe abortion rights are fair, and we believe they should be affordable for people who otherwise wouldn’t. not this availability, ”Lamont said. “So I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Nationwide, an estimated 4 million women across the United States, many of them low-income and uninsured, were receiving services last year Federal Program Title X, including STD tests, various screenings, education and wellness exams. Planned Parenthood and some other providers have decided to opt out of the program rather than comply with what Planned Parenthood calls the Trump administration’s “gag order,” which prohibits clinics participating in Title X from referring women for abortions. This decision caused a financial crisis in some clinics.

Since then, some of the rejected federal funds have been replenished by state or local funds in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California and New York. Hawaii’s current fiscal year budget sets aside $ 750,000 to partially cover a loss of $ 2 million in Title X grants.

In Massachusetts, Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed a law authorizing up to $ 8 million. In California, the Santa Clara County Supervisory Board voted last year to cover a projected shortfall of $ 482,000 for six Planned Parenthood clinics serving 36,274 patients. And Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Tom Wolf included a $ 3 million item in his 2020-21 budget proposal to also help offset the loss of funding for Planned Parenthood providers.

In Oregon, the main plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rule, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the agency was “ working closely with state officials to creating critical supports and protecting access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X, ”and praised Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, for prioritizing funding reproductive health services.

Opponents of abortion have accused governors of providing money to win favor with an organization that often supports Democrats at election time.

In New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation last month providing $ 9.5 million in public money for family planning at Planned Parenthood, the New Jersey Right to Life called it a shameful financial drain.

“NJ taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund abortion – and make no mistake – that’s what this bill will do,” Marie Tasy, the group’s executive director, said in a written statement.

Title X regulations prohibit the use of funds for abortions, with a few exceptions, and the money Lamont proposed would fund Title X services and not abortions, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Opponents of abortion in Connecticut have argued for years that public funds should not be used for abortions or abortion referrals. The state health insurance program paid for 6,995 abortions in 2018. A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services said Connecticut was under court order to pay for any abortions for a Medicaid-covered woman she and his doctor deemed it necessary.

State money budgeted by Lamont would not be used for abortions, as it would only fund Title X services, according to state health officials. But opponents say that no matter where it goes, the money for Planned Parenthood makes it look like the state is outwardly advocating for abortion.

“I am disturbed that it is now the state’s policy to defend it externally no matter what,” said Chris O’Brien, executive director of Connecticut Right to Life.

It is not known how long state aid will continue.

Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said it was “encouraging” that state governors and lawmakers are trying to fill the void, but said the efforts State-by-State cannot replace the nearly 50. one-year-old Title X program.

“While we commend the state leaders for taking these temporary but critical steps, we must continue to fight for a nationwide solution,” Ayers said. “Only Congress has the power to stop this nefarious rule for good, and people across the country continue to ask them to do so.”

About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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