Last Tuesday, the newly elected ultra-conservative NC State House voted on a new budget bill. Included in this budget were many ideological attempts to bring about a new era of social conservatism in the state; among them was the elimination of state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Unfortunately, the budget bill passed the house and efforts to restore the Planned Parenthood funding failed. With a Republican controlled State Senate, it is a real possibility that Planned Parenthood will lose its state funding. This is a shame for many reasons, but one clear reason is economic: Every $1 spent on family planning saves taxpayers almost $4.00. Supporting organizations that work to prevent teen pregnancies is not just the right thing to do but also good business.
Planned Parenthood is one of the most effective and important health organizations in the state. Through education programs, political advocacy, and their health clinics, they are an invaluable resource to youth. With the real possibility of the elimination of state funding, young people and our allies should be worried.
This attack on Planned Parenthood mirrors a nationwide trend of eliminating funding for teen pregnancy prevention:
“In North Carolina, the proposed state budget includes a ban on state contracts with Planned Parenthood for teen pregnancy prevention and family planning. In Texas, the Republican-controlled House stripped more than $60 million from the state budget for family planning services, shifting some of the money to anti-abortion programs and crisis pregnancy centers. Last year, New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie, cut $7.5 million from the state budget for 58 clinics specializing in women's reproductive health.” (News and Observer)
However, there are some excellent legislators who made a bold stand last week trying to protect the funding. Check out some excerpts from the debate on the floor:
The North Carolina Planned Parenthood has created a web center to learn more about the budget proposals and the site includes ways to get involved.