Taxpayer funding for Nebraska abortion groups remains uncertain after state lawmakers deleted a budget item to defund them on Wednesday.
Federal and state lawmakers across the country have been debating legislation this spring to strip Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups of the taxpayer funding they receive. The nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, currently receives about half a billion taxpayer dollars each year; but a bill passed by the U.S. House on Thursday would take away most of its federal funding.
The issue in Nebraska appears to be not so much about whether to defund abortion groups but how.
The AP reports some Nebraska legislators argued that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers should be defunded through a stand-alone bill, rather than in the state budget.
The state Senate voted 25-19 on Wednesday to remove the defunding language, proposed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, from the budget, according to the report.
Here’s more from the report:
Even some senators who oppose abortion voiced frustration at the decision to include it in the budget, which lawmakers are legally required to balance. Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer of Norfolk said he might have supported the measure as a stand-alone bill, but was “quite perturbed this was slid into a budget bill.”
“We can all talk about `the Nebraska way,”’ he said. “Well, this sure as hell isn’t the Nebraska way.”
… Sen. John Stinner of Gering, the Appropriations Committee’s chairman, said he wished lawmakers would keep budget and social issues separate.
“I just want to talk about the budget,” he said. “I think we owe it to Nebraskans to talk about the budget.”
Julie Schimt-Albin of Nebraska Right to Life described the vote as “unfortunate.” She told LifeNews that the budget language would have redistributed tax dollars to community health centers, which provide more comprehensive medical services without doing abortions.
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Schimt-Albin also noted that the measure would have distributed funds more equally to patients across the state, especially in rural areas.
“The language would have provided a tiered approach to how Title X family planning funds are appropriated,” Schimt-Albin explained. “The first tier for funding would have been Federally Qualified Health Centers. The second tier would have been community based health centers that provide comprehensive medical services. The third tier would have included Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s two facilities in Omaha and Lincoln and several other centers that offer family planning.”
Schimt-Albin said Nebraska Planned Parenthood people lobbied “vigorously” against the measure. Still, she said pro-lifers remain hopeful that lawmakers will defund abortion groups in Nebraska.
At the national level, a recent survey found that community health centers not only provide more comprehensive health care than Planned Parenthood, excluding abortions, they also outnumber the abortion group’s facilities by 20 to one.
As LifeNews.com reported, President Donald Trump made an offer to the Planned Parenthood abortion company that it would not only keep its funding but would increase its federal taxpayer funding if it would stop killing babies in abortions and focus on legitimate non-abortion healthcare. But Planned Parenthood said no.