The recent omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last month continues the more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood receives each year. Lawmakers in Nebraska, however, are working to stop taxpayer funded abortion in their state.
On Tuesday, Nebraska legislators passed a bill to end funding for government-supported abortion facilities, including Planned Parenthood, as part Nebraska’s budget package, Omaha World-Herald reported.
Approved 38-6, the measure will now head to the desk of Republican Governor Pete Ricketts who introduced the plan to stop taxpayer-funded abortion into the family-planning measure of the budget.
If signed, it will be effective immediately.
Before the pill passed, senators “spent about an hour Tuesday morning rehashing the debate on restrictions to federal family planning dollars known as Title X. The bill got hung up twice during the second round of debate when senators could not agree on changes to the language proposed by Ricketts,” the World-Herald reported.
Enacted in 1970, Title X allocates federal grants for preventative health services to low-income families or uninsured people.
“The bill would prevent health clinics from receiving Title X federal funding if they perform, counsel in favor of or refer patients to abortion services,” The Associated Press explained.
“Clinics would need to show physical, financial and legal separation from abortion services.”
Nebraska’s two largest cities — Omaha and Lincoln — are home to the state’s two Planned Parenthood facilities. There are also 42 other health clinics that currently receive Title X funding from the state, according to the Daily Caller.
Supporters of the bill pointed to a 2016 state audit of Planned Parenthood that indicated the organization used public funds for abortion services.
Planned Parenthood claimed it is being unfairly targeted and said it will fight to remain open.
“Whether the governor likes it or not, Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of family planning care,” said Meg Mikolajczyk, public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
“Women know us, women trust us, and there is no substitute for the expert level of care we provide. There is no legitimate reason that our 8,000 patients should have to try to go somewhere else, especially when there really isn’t anywhere else for them to go.”
The bill will still allow family planning facilities to receive federal funding so long as they use the funding for other types of care and procedures besides abortions.
“We made a decision to make sure that some clinics, even if not all of them, could still provide these services for these women and some men,” said Sen. Sara Howard.
In April last year, the president signed a law that rolled back an Obama administration-era rule which protected federal funds for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.
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