A bill is due to be introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature today that will defund Planned Parenthood in the state. The bill, “Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act,” will be introduced by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R). Under the bill, healthcare providers that offer abortions will be given the lowest priority for receiving state funding. According to the Huffington Post, the bill was co-written by the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List and Alliance Defense Fund.
Four other states- Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, and Oklahoma- have bills pending that seek to defund or decrease the funds available to Planned Parenthood. This year, Arizona defunded Planned Parenthood and Maine has cut $400,000 in family planning funds. Six states in 2011 passed legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Of those states, District Courts in Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee have declared the laws unconstitutional and blocked them from going into effect. Wisconsin’s legislation was not blocked.
President of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, Jeff Teague, said that the attempts to end funding are directly affecting patients who rely on Planned Parenthood’s health services. He said, “In the past our clients would qualify for services for free, but now we have to charge them a fee. It’s put a burden on people, obviously. We’ve seen a ten percent decrease in patient numbers, and we’ve worked very closely with [the] health department to see if they’ve seen a corresponding increase, and they have not. We have a serious concern that there are a number of women not receiving or delaying care, which is a bad situation either way.”
Think Progress 5/23/12; Huffington Post 5/22/12