Well over a month after being defunded by the state, Planned Parenthood of Indiana has figured out a way to avoid shutting down any of its health centers -- yet. By making some "difficult decisions," including laying off two employees, furloughing almost everyone else and closing all of their health centers for a day, and no longer covering Medicaid patients through private funds, they'll be able to stay operational until a judge's ruling, expected by July 1, on whether their funding should be restored while they challenge the new law in court.
In Minnesota, clinics are closing. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota announced this week that it'll be closing six Minnesota clinics because of federal cuts to Title X family planning funding that were made in this year's budget.
Announcing the closures, the organization's president and CEO, Sarah Stoesz, said the budget cuts "were driven by ideological attacks on women's health, not by a desire to fix the economy."
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Ms. Stoesz (at right) told us the clinics that are set to be shuttered are mostly smaller clinics in smaller communities. "But that's where some of the more poor and isolated women are," she said. "So the people who have the least end up paying the most. It's very sad and frustrating."
The clinic closures will take effect August 1, leaving 18 (including eight in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area). Ms. Stoesz says they'll expand hours and online access at those remaining clinics to try to compensate for the closed clinics. But, she says, the closures will mean fewer access points in small, remote communities:
"There's no question that women are going to be hurt by this. There's no question."
In North Carolina, Democratic Governor Bev Perdue (at left) vetoed a version of the budget that stripped funding from Planned Parenthood but the legislature overrode the veto and the measure is set to take effect July 1 (though Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina says it's considering a court challenge).
Gov. Bev Perdue
The North Carolina cuts won't affect Medicaid patients but their spokesperson, Paige Johnson tells us they stand to lose all of their Title X family planning funding from the federal government and state funding for programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and providing access to the most effective forms of birth control for low-income women.
Kansas also defunded Planned Parenthood through the state budget -- Kansas' budget includes a measure that essentially disqualifies Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funding. Medicaid patients aren't affected in Kansas, either. But according to Peter Brownlie, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri, those Title X funds represent about half of the revenue that runs Kansas' Planned Parenthood clinics in Wichita and Hays. The cuts are set to take effect July 1 and Mr. Brownlie says the organization is still considering a lawsuit:
"One way or the other, we will continue to provide services as we are now, at least through the month of July. We will continue to turn to our donors and supporters to help provide those services. If we’re unable to maintain the funding level to maintain that, then we’ll be forced to change the way we charge for services -- to increase cost of care for poor women in Kansas."
As for the politics behind the Planned Parenthood fight, well, Mr. Brownlie is glad you asked:
Gov. Sam Brownback
"It’s sort of absurd that Republican leadership in Kansas and that Governor Brownback, who say -- and I believe them-- that they’re opposed to abortion for any reason, at any time, are taking action that will make it more difficult for people to avoid unplanned pregnancies which result in abortion. We've repeatedly called on the governor and the legislature to help prevent unintended pregnancies and the math is pretty simple and pretty clear. Half of all pregnancies in this country are unintended. Forty percent of those result in abortion. Yet what this state is doing is reducing access to family planning in pursuit of their political agenda."