Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announces budget plan that would cut funding for Planned Parenthood

(Reuters/Joshua Roberts)FILE PHOTO: Republican Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced that he will propose a budget plan that would cut off taxpayer funding to health clinics that perform abortions such as Planned Parenthood.

According to Nebraska.TV, the budget proposal aims to revise the distribution of federal Title X healthcare funding to prevent the use of taxpayer money for abortions. The amendment would mean that no health clinics can receive funding until they are found to be truly separate and independent of any entity that performs abortions.

"Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state's budget should reflect those values," Ricketts said. "This year, I am recommending that the Legislature revise the state's distribution of federal Title X health care funds to ensure that no funds are used to subsidize abortion," he continued.

The governor credited the action taken by Congress last year that gave the states more latitude in the distribution of Title X funding. A press release from the governor's office indicated that healthcare providers that also perform abortions are receiving federal funding passed through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

"By prioritizing federal funds to clinics that do not provide abortion services, Nebraska is sending the message that we are a state that respects unborn life. The Governor and I strongly urge State Senators to enact this recommendation, and we look forward to working with them to help Nebraska's budget reflect our pro-life values," said Lt. Governor Mike Foley.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland denounced the budget plan, saying it could lead to the loss of healthcare for 8,000 Nebraskans. The organization urged lawmakers to reject any attempts to cut off funding from family planning providers, noting that Title X funds are never used to subsidize abortions.

Ricketts also attempted to cut off funding from abortion clinics last year through a budget proposal that included language that would have redirected federal Title X funds to entities that offer a broad range of health services.

The provision was added to the budget plan by the Appropriations Committee, but it was removed after the budget made it to the full Legislature.

Opponents referred to the provision as a "poison pill," saying it would reduce access to care in rural areas. Lawmakers argued that the provision had been "slipped into the budget bill" without sufficient debate.

A report in 2015 has indicated that Planned Parenthood receives about $90,000 in taxpayer funding in Nebraska each year. It found that 11–18 percent of the organization's total funds in the state came from taxpayer funding.

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