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Supporters of Connecticut Planned Parenthood Defend State Funding

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May 6, 2011

MERIDEN, Conn. - After the attempted elimination of state funding for Planned Parenthood failed earlier this week, the organization held a news conference yesterday at its Meriden clinic in the home district of the man who made the proposal, Republican Sen. Len Suzio.

Judy Tabar, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, explained how the $1 million Planned Parenthood gets from the state Department of Public Health helps Suzio's constituents, who are among the organization's 63,000 patients.

"That helps to fund our 18 health centers, so it helps make it possible for us to offer our services on a sliding-fee scale, since many of our patients have low incomes."

While threats to Planned Parenthood's funding have abounded in Congress, Tabar said, it was a surprise in the Nutmeg State.

"It's rare for something like this to happen in Connecticut, which is a state that really has common-sense values and for years and years has supported important family-planning services provided by Planned Parenthood."

Some politicians have attacked Planned Parenthood for providing abortions, but Tabar says in Connecticut it has also prevented more unintended pregnancies than any other provider in the state.

"Ten percent of visits to our health centers are for abortion services. All the other visits are for preventive care, family planning, breast and cervical cancer screening - that sort of thing."

Reached by phone, Suzio said he proposed the amendment because he thought Planned Parenthood should share in the sacrifice of balancing the budget. He said his opposition to abortion had nothing to do with his offering the amendment.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT