Montana Planned Parenthood Grapples With Tax-Funding Cuts

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 11, 2011   |   6:08PM   |   Helena, MT

Add Montana to the list of states this year that cut funding that the Planned Parenthood business ultimately receives. Although the cuts are not as extensive as other states, they are having an effect.

Earlier this year, the state legislature voted to cut all taxpayer funding for family planning clinics in Montana, including the centers operated by the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the state. The funding cuts totaled to $5.7 million for the new fiscal year starting July 1.

However, federal funding for the clinics was restored after Republicans in the legislature had to work out a budget deal with pro-abortion Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Despite the restoration of the federal funds, most of the funding package initially cut, the state agreed to withhold state taxpayer funding from the family planning clinics. As a result, some of the facilities lost as much as 25 percent of the total government funding on which they normally relied, according to the Billings Gazette.

That includes the Planned Parenthood abortion business, which runs five centers in Billings, Missoula, Helena and Great Falls. Stacy James, CEO of Planned Parenthood, told the newspaper the cuts are “substantial” but the abortion giant made plans for the loss of revenue from the government.

“You can’t pull money out of thin air, but the good thing for our patients is … we knew ahead of time and we made plans to prepare for that loss with minimum impact on our patients,” she said. “We’re just tightening our belts, which we’re very good at doing here.”

James didn’t indicate if the abortion business would trim any staff or hours at centers, but the Gazette report notes Planned Parenthood will drop some of the birth control pills they normally carried unless the women visiting want to pay full price for the pills for which they normally received a discount through Planned Parenthood. The cuts make it clear Planned Parenthood in Montana will not be cutting abortions, from which Planned Parenthood nationwide generates 37 percent of its income.

Planned Parenthood officials in Wisconsin are also making decisions about potential cuts in the face of a loss of taxpayer funding from the state government there.

As has been the case in Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire, Wisconsin decided to cut state taxpayer funding and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law the state budget legislators approved containing the de-funding. It was part of budget cuts needed to meet a $3 billion state shortfall.

The legislation redirects $1 million in state and federal family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. In 2010 Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin received more than $18 million in federal and state family planning funds that it claims has reduced abortions. However, the abortion business did 5,439 abortions in 2009, a 56% increase from 2008. Three of the nine Planned Parenthood centers in the state do abortions and the other six make referrals for abortions.

In other states, Indiana approved a law de-funding Planned Parenthood and North Carolina and Kansas followed with similar efforts. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is about to follow suit and New Hampshire Planned Parenthood centers may close after the state revoked a $1.8 million grant.