Tuesday, July 3, 2012

North Carolina Overrides Veto, Defunds Planned Parenthood

The North Carolina state legislature voted last night to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a budget that would defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state.

The Republican-controlled legislature overrode the Democratic governor’s veto of a similar bill last year but a federal judge ruled that the state could not target a specific health care provider. Lawmakers this time changed the wording in their provision by stating that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services cannot enter into a contract with any “private providers” of family planning services.

The move effectively cuts funding to Planned Parenthood but other organizations could also be in danger of losing funds, according to Paige Johnson, vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (PPCNC). “We weren’t the only organization impacted,” she said. “Other health centers around the state could also be affected.”

Johnson told The NonProfit Times that she was still unsure how much the funding cut would impact her organization, though she said that the cuts in funding could potentially impact the organization’s ability to provide affordable birth control, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services. “There wasn’t a lot of clarity in the provision as to what programs it affects. Some of our centers get more state funding than others,” she said.

The new provision will redirect about $343,000 in state family planning from private services such as PPCNC to county health departments. Lawmakers say they made the change because private providers can allow for abortions, though Johnson insists that no state funds go to those services.

“The ban on funding doesn’t save the state a dime,” Johnson added. “It forces our patients to go to the health department for care, and the wait time can be months.”

PPCNC is currently looking into all of its options, including legal possibilities, to determine how to move going forward.

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