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N.C. Becomes Third State To Block Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood

N.C. Becomes Third State To Block Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood

June 17, 2011 — The North Carolina Senate on Wednesday voted 31-19 to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's (D) veto of the state budget, which includes a provision that would prohibit distribution of state-controlled federal family planning grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates, CBS News' "Political Hotsheet" reports. Perdue vetoed the proposal on Sunday, arguing that the bill was "ideologically driven" and that it "blatantly ignores the values of North Carolina's people" (Madison, "Political Hotsheet," CBS News, 6/16).

The budget prevents the nine Planned Parenthood clinics in the state from receiving state or federal money for family planning or teen pregnancy initiatives, CQ HealthBeat reports. The override makes North Carolina the third state -- along with Indiana and Kansas -- to cut off state and federal funds for Planned Parenthood. Unlike the Indiana law, which halts Medicaid funding, the Kansas and North Carolina measures block money from the federal Title X family planning program. Title X funding enables Planned Parenthood to provide about 25,000 North Carolina residents with contraceptive services, sexually transmitted infection testing and cancer screenings annually.

Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, said the organization is meeting with its legal department and "considering all options, including litigation" to block the North Carolina law (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 6/16). Planned Parenthood said it receives about $434,000 annually in state grants and programs. The law would stop funding beginning July 1.

State lawmakers have said that uninsured residents can obtain family planning and preventive health services at county health departments instead of Planned Parenthood (Brumm, Reuters, 6/16). However, Paige Johnson, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, said wait times for appointments at those clinics can reach up to three months, whereas Planned Parenthood is able to treat patients within a week. "We're not preparing to limit the scope of our services or to turn patients away," she said, adding, "We are preparing to fight this in court and we think we'll prevail -- that we'll get an injunction immediately" ("Political Hotsheet," CBS, 6/16).