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Budget Battle about Planned Parenthood Over – For Now?



April 11, 2011

ST. LOUIS - Tense discussion over federal funding to Planned Parenthood went down to the wire, but ultimately Congress struck a budget deal to avert a federal government shutdown, without cutting off that funding, though $38 billion was slashed from the budget.

However, with the 2012 budget debate now looming, Alison Gee, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, says the fight for women and reproductive health may be far from over. She says the federal funds pay for life-saving cancer screenings, Pap smears, birth control, and prenatal care.

"These are cost-effective preventive services, and those are the services they want to cut. And it's for low-income women, many of whom, if they did not have Planned Parenthood, would have nowhere else to go for their health care."

Conservatives who wanted Planned Parenthood funding cut argued that they don't want any federal dollars going to an organization that performs abortions. But Gee says no federal monies are used for that purpose.

"Federal funds have not paid for an abortion in 30 years. These funds are funds that pay for preventive services."

House Republicans attached dozens of so-called policy riders to their 2011 budget which passed earlier this year and are the basis for ongoing discussions. Such riders would have also blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses. That was also left out of the budget deal.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO