Conservative Lawmakers Oppose Mich. Family Planning Grant for Planned Parenthood

December 9, 2015 — A group of conservative lawmakers in the Michigan House are urging a state panel to reject a proposal from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that would direct $1.2 million in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood for services provided to low-income women in Detroit, the Detroit News reports.

According to the Detroit News, the funding would increase Planned Parenthood's fiscal year 2016 contract with the state to about $10 million. The overall contract is funded by a mix of local funds, state funds, federal funds and the money Planned Parenthood generates from donations and patients.

Funding Request Details

In the past, the Institute for Population Health in Detroit held a contract with the state to provide health care services to low-income women (Livengood, Detroit News, 12/3). However, IPH is unable to meet the family planning and contract requirements for renewal. MDHHS spokesperson Jennifer Eisner said awarding the contract to Planned Parenthood "will keep the family planning services in the area."

Eisner said, "This contract amendment is for family planning services that are funded by federal Title X dollars which must go toward services including contraception, preconception health, pregnancy testing, basic infertility services, gynecologic services, and related preventive health services."

Conservatives Oppose Funding Planned Parenthood

The conservative lawmakers who oppose the grant claim that it violates the spirit of a state budget passed earlier this year that prevents MDHHS from using state funds to contract with entities that offer abortion care or abortion care referrals (Oosting, MLive, 12/8).

Meanwhile, Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, said, "The state of Michigan does not have leeway to exclude a provider on philosophical grounds." She added, "This is federal money. These are not state dollars."

According to Carpentier, blocking the funding "would put [M]DHHS and therefore the state of Michigan significantly out of compliance with the federal rules." Noting that Planned Parenthood has won several lawsuits over Title X funding in other states, she said PPMSM "wouldn't hesitate to make this a legal issue" (Detroit News, 12/3).