In what could be a setback for the pro-life movement in Nebraska, last week on February 12, the state senate budget appropriations committee voted 5-3 against including language that would withhold Title X funds from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. The measure preventing the funding from going to abortion providers was first put into place last year and had been widely hailed as a pro-life victory.
Today, the Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee stripped key #prolife language from the state budget in a committee vote. Less than a year ago, the Legislature stood with Nebraskans and voted for a pro-life budget.
— Gov. Pete Ricketts (@GovRicketts) February 13, 2019
In a statement put out by the Governor on Tuesday, he expressed concerns for the state in light of the current push for very pro-abortion policies nationwide: “Given what’s going on in New York and Virginia, the decision to strip the pro-life language out of this year’s budget is especially appalling. I urge the committee to reconsider this initial vote, because how the state spends taxpayer dollars has deep implications for the dignity of human life and Nebraska’s core values.”
Appropriations Committee chairman John Stinner said that the budget would be contentious enough with provisions already included, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. “He would rather the debates this session be about the budget, and not about a social policy, he said. He would prefer that the content of the Title X provision be put into a bill and debated that way,” the Star wrote.
State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks introduced a related bill on Title X funding that she argues may be used as a means to discuss the Governor’s pro-life provision. Pansing Brooks’ bill would only permit licensed organizations covered under the state’s Health Care Facilities Licensure Act, and subject to HIPAA Act of 1996 requirements, to be eligible to receive Title X funds. If she is correct and the measure makes its way into this or another bill, then the pro-life provision that the Appropriations Committee voted out may be able to be enacted through a different means.
Planned Parenthood of Nebraska currently receives $300,000 of federal Title X funding each year, according to The Nebraska Catholic Conference. Nationwide, other pro-life medical clinics are attempting to position themselves for federal Title X dollars under a Trump administration rule change. Under Title X, Planned Parenthood receives taxpayer dollars to pay for contraception like Plan B and to cover the organization’s expenses, freeing its other funding up to pay for expenses related to committing abortions. The abortion corporation receives over $65 million of Title X funding annually.
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