Maryland becomes first state to reimburse Planned Parenthood cuts

By Cam Hasbrouck

The state of Maryland enacted a law earlier this month that would reimburse Planned Parenthood in the event that the federal government decides to cut funding to the organization, according to the Washington Post.

The bill was one of 27 that the Maryland General Assembly sent to Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this month, fifteen of which became law without his signature, per the Hill. With Hogan’s decision not to veto the measure, Maryland became the first state in the nation to pass such a bill.

Jonathan_Butler_2015_Planned_Parenthood
Photo from Creative Commons.

The new law, which will officially take effect on July 1, dedicates $2 million from Maryland’s Medicaid budget, as well as $700,000 from the state’s general fund to give to Planned Parenthood, should the organization lose federal funding, according to the Associated Press.

The law passed amidst an ongoing debate in Washington as to whether to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. Republicans have targeted Planned Parenthood because a portion of their services are abortions.

By law, the federal government cannot provide funding toward abortion services, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Last month, Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote undid an Obama administration rule that kept states from blocking funding for family planning clinics that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, according to CNN.

“There should definitely be some sort of help given (from the government) because Planned Parenthood isn’t just for abortions,” said freshman government and politics and Persian studies double-major Kathleen Bloom, who grew up a Republican despite being pro-choice.

“What someone does with their body is not anyone else’s business,” she said. “A lot of people can’t afford to have a child at that point in their life, and so if they can’t  do it… and if an accident ends up happening, it’s not really their fault.”

All in all, she supports government funding of Planned Parenthood.

“The money has to come from somewhere,” she said.

Defunding Planned Parenthood was also a part of the Republican health care bill that failed late last month.

News of a meeting between Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards back in January was recently reported by Politico.

“The purpose of the meeting, from Cecile’s point of view, was to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea for Planned Parenthood to be removed from being able to see Medicaid patients,” said a Planned Parenthood spokesperson, per Politico.

“The main thing that Cecile Richards was doing was explaining that the money doesn’t actually go to abortions — we get reimbursed the same way a hospital does. We were clearing up misinformation about how this works.”

It appears that the meeting, which took place in secret back in January, failed to establish common ground between the two sides, as the White House went on to back measures that would cut Planned Parenthood funding.

With Planned Parenthood clearly in the sights of Republicans, Maryland Democrats have now provided a safety net for the program should the Republicans find a way to pass a defunding measure.

Approximately 25,000 people in Maryland currently rely on nine Planned Parenthood health centers across the state, according to the Associated Press.
Oregon and Nevada are also looking into similar legislation to protect Planned Parenthood, according to the Associated Press.

Featured image from Creative Commons.

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