Inside Politics

NC budget cuts funding to Planned Parenthood

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Critics are fuming over a major hit to Planned Parenthood's funding after the Republican budget effectively shut down state dollars to the non-profit.

Republicans tried the same thing last year and failed after a judge said they couldn't single out Planned Parenthood.

Ironically, that ruling was finalized just a few days ago just a few days before Republicans passed a new budget that does the same thing. It strips away Planned Parenthood funding, without singling the group out.

When Republicans voted late Monday night to override Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of the budget, they voted for a spending plan that changed some rules for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Now, HHS can't contract with "private providers" of family planning services. Republicans didn't specify Planned Parenthood, but they didn't have to.

"Planned parenthood is the only family provider that the Health Department contracts with," said Planned Parenthood's Melissa Reed.

Reed told ABC11 it was a way of getting around a court order that says the state can't single out the nonprofit.  However, in this budget, the group will lose $200,000 in state money.  Reed said all of it would only go to preventative services that most often go to low income women.

"What this essentially does is it removes us as a safety net provider for an already burdened Health Department," said Reed.

Republicans point out that the budget does include almost $350,000 in additional funding for county health departments to provide the same services.  However, Reed said the dollars go farther at Planned Parenthood.

"It's basic health care for women that's under attack," said Reed.

House Majority Leader Paul Stam disagrees, but he didn't try to hide his dislike for Planned Parenthood.  Off camera Wednesday, Stam said they do more harm than good. Last year, he said the nonprofit's clinics do assembly line abortions.

Reed said only seven percent of Planned Parenthood's resources go toward abortions with none of that money coming from the state. Reed also said the drop in state funding will also make the cost of pharmaceuticals go up at Planned Parenthood, specifically birth control.

However, for women who rely on birth control, there is some good news. Under the Affordable Care Act, birth control will be free for most women starting later this year.

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