Nebraska lawmakers advance budget that could prevent Planned Parenthood from getting federal money
Lawmakers in Nebraska have advanced a budget measure that could prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money.
The budget measure would bar health clinics in the state that perform, counsel in support of or refer patients to abortion services from getting Title X family-planning dollars, The Associated Press reported.
The legislation would mandate that health clinics demonstrate a separation from abortion providers, both financially and legally. The local affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Heartland would have to separate its abortion and nonabortion services in order to qualify for the federal money, according to the AP.
The legislation allows for referrals in cases of emergency, the AP said.
The state measure follows passage of the federal omnibus spending bill which, despite much contentious debate, did not block funding to Planned Parenthood.
The AP reported that state Sen. Ernie Chambers (I) ripped lawmakers in Nebraska as "spineless" and said they were submitting to Gov. Pete Ricketts's (R) political desires by including the measure in the state budget.
“I have wasted 44 years in this worthless legislature,” said Chambers, a left-leaning independent.
Before the budget goes to the governor's office, it will have to go through one final vote.
Planned Parenthood of the Heartland said the state's governor was using the budget as a "political weapon," according to the AP.
“Gov. Ricketts has aligned himself with the Trump-Pence administration, and it is clear he will do anything in his power to take away basic human rights from women,” said Meg Mikolajczyk, a lobbyist and attorney for the group.
President Trump on Thursday signed a bill to nix an Obama-era rule that blocked states from defunding health-care providers for political reasons.
The bill, which Democrats say is really an effort to defund Planned Parenthood, passed the Senate last month after Vice President Pence had to cast a tie-breaking vote.
Obama's rule required that state and local governments distribute federal Title X funding for services related to contraception, fertility, pregnancy care and cervical cancer screenings to health providers regardless of whether they also perform abortions.
Republicans argued that reversing the rule gives states the power to decide how they want to distribute Title X funding, while Democrats said it's just another push to hurt Planned Parenthood.