Following in the footsteps of Indiana and Kansas, the state of North Carolina has denied Planned Parenthood its state and federal funding.
The chain of women’s health clinics in the state lost three sources of state and federal funds when the state’s legislature voted yesterday to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of the budget that included the cuts. The budget takes effect July 1.
Jessica Laurenz, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh, tells The Florida Independent the organization will “consider litigation” before cutting back services in the wake of this budget decision.
“We are not going to turn patients away,” she says.
In North Carolina, Planned Parenthood lost three sources of public money. The clinics lost thousands in state funds through the Women’s Health Services Fund, which allowed them to provide contraceptive services to low-income women in the state. The group also lost money from a teen pregnancy prevention initiative. The initiative is a federal grant program given to states.
Most importantly, Laurenz explains, the clinics were stripped of their Title X funding (.pdf). According to a report by NARAL, Title X is “the cornerstone of the federal domestic family planning program: It is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family planning and reproductive‐health services.”
Despite the fact that federal law prohibits any Title X money from being used for abortion services, Planned Parenthood clinics in states like Indiana and Kansas are being defunded because abortion services are one of their many services.
Laurenz explains that this attack on Planned Parenthood has little to do with services and everything to do with politics.
“What is critical to understand,” she explains, “is that the political climate [in North Carolina] changed drastically after the 2010 election. We were fully expecting these attacks.”
However, one big difference between Indiana and North Carolina’s defunding efforts, is that North Carolina is not stripping the clinics of their Medicaid funding. Laurenz explains that Medicaid remains the only public funding that was not taken away from them.
Indiana was recently warned by the federal government that its effort to remove Medicaid dollars from the clinics broke federal law. The warning submitted to Indiana by Health and Human Services could provide a barrier for states looking to completely defund the clinics.
According to a press release from Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood is an essential community provider in North Carolina. Each year, at nine health centers across the state, they provide over 25,000 men and women with more than 61,000 contraceptive visits, 18,000 tests for sexually transmitted infections, and over 11,000 life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings.
Previously, Planned Parenthood received just over $434,000 through state grants and programs. State funding is used only to provide preventive healthcare services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancy prevention and affordable contraception.
Public Policy Polling (.pdf) from April of this year shows that 57 percent of voters in North Carolina are opposed to the state banning all state funding for Planned Parenthood.