Michigan Legislature Targets Planned Parenthood Funding

  • 12-13-2001
Lansing, MI -- Planned Parenthood of Michigan could lose millions of state dollars under a bill approved Thursday by the Michigan state House. The bill, approved on 67-36 vote, would provide guidelines for local health agencies charged with distributing state funding for family planning services. The bill now goes to the Senate. Providers that don't perform elective abortions or refer pregnant women to abortion facilities would receive first priority for family planning funding under the bill. Groups that perform abortions or advocate abortion would be considered last for funding under the legislation. However, if a local organization couldn't accommodate the same number of women as a local Planned Parenthood, the latter would receive state funding. Supporters of the bill don't want taxpayers' money to go to organizations that advocate abortion. ``Tax dollars are basically being used to support abortions, and I don't agree with that,'' said Rep. Sue Tabor, a Republican from Eaton County's Delta Township. Right to Life of Michigan supported House Bill 4655. Abortion advocates said the bill would hurt Planned Parenthood's ability to serve low income women. In the 2000-2001 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood in Michigan received $1.8 million from the state, according to the House Fiscal Agency. Overall, it received $3.5 million in federal and state funding that year. There are 31 Planned Parenthood clinics in Michigan and three of those perform abortions, said Rep. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. Rep. Mark Jansen, a Kentwood Republican who sponsored the bill, said it would open up the family planning market beyond Planned Parenthood. But he admitted it would be difficult for a health care provider to offer a variety of services at the low price offered by Planned Parenthood. ``This bill will create a level playing field,'' he said. ``I don't think it will happen overnight.'' In other Legislative news, House Bill 4564, sponsored by Rep. Pat Lockwood, was also passed in the Michigan House today. This bill is a funding initiative that would provide grants for institutions of higher education to create an on-campus office that provides pregnant and parenting students with information about resources available through the university, the community and the government in regard to their needs, including prenatal care, adoption agencies, childcare, family housing, financial assistance, and healthcare. The office would not provide abortion referrals; but instead, would provide information to help students give life to their unborn children and stay in school to complete their degree. For more information about prolife legislation, visit the Right to Life of Michigan web site at www.rtl.org or call the legislative office in Lansing at (517) 487-3376. You can help women make positive, life-affirming choices when confrontingan unexpected pregnancy. Please provide a link on your web site to Pregnancy Centers Online at http://www.pregnancycenters.org

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