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KY Senate moves to cut Planned Parenthood funds

KY Senate moves to cut Planned Parenthood funds

Bill Stephens

February 4th, 2016

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FRANKFORT – The state Senate has passed legislation intended to curb the flow of non-Medicaid, state-administered tax dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics in Kentucky.

Dubbed the “Defunding Planned Parenthood Legislation,” Senate Bill 7 passed by a 33-5 vote on Tuesday. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

SB 7 would establish a three-tiered system for the state to fund family planning services, said bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville. The first funding priority would be public health departments. The second funding priority would be nonpublic clinics that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health services. The third funding priority – if any money remains – would be to Planned Parenthood.

“Due to existing federal law and prior federal court of appeals decisions, this bill does not impact Medicaid funds that flow to Planned Parenthood,” Wise said. “While that is regrettable … it is the current landscape within which we must work.”

Wise said that Planned Parenthood-affiliated facilities performed more than one-third of all abortions in the United States. “Until more significant changes can be made at the federal level, we must do what we can to keep public funds from groups like Planned Parenthood which callously profit from death.”

Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, voted against SB 7.

“Planned Parenthood serves a profound public purpose in this country and in this state,” said Thomas, who has a Planned Parenthood clinic in his district. “First of all Planned Parenthood serves women who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to … obtain the family planning services that we value as a society.”

He said the clinic in his district served 1,350 people in 2014, adding that 60 percent of those women were below the 100 percent poverty level. He added that Planned Parenthood also provides cancer screening for women – a service badly needed in a state that routinely leads the nation in cancer rates.

Prior to the floor debate and subsequent vote on SB 7, the Senate went into recess so some senators could walk another abortion-related bill to the governor’s office for his signature.

It was the “informed consent” bill, also known as Senate Bill 4, which passed out of the Senate on Monday. SB 4 would require an in-person or real-time video conference between a woman seeking an abortion and a health care provider at least 24 hours before the procedure.

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