Arizona Legislature Passes Bill Defunding Planned Parenthood, Cuts Off $2 Million in Tax Dollars

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 5, 2017   |   4:33PM   |   Phoenix, AZ

Arizona lawmakers passed a state budget Friday with a provision to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

The AP reports the state budget will cut about $2 million in taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood facilities in Arizona, about 15 percent of their annual revenue.

Passed by the state Senate early Friday, the budget is on Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk for his signature, ABC 15 reports. Ducey is pro-life.

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod said women will not lose access to quality health care under the new budget. She said the budget will allow the state to redirect funding to 183 health care clinics across the state that provide comprehensive care to low-income Arizonans, but not abortions.

“Planned Parenthood would be eligible if it ceased performing abortions,” Herrod said. “But Planned Parenthood is not the only game in town, and taxpayers should not be forced to pay for abortions – even indirectly through paying other expenses at abortion clinics.”

Herrod said the new budget will require the state to apply to distribute federal family planning money through the Title X program. If the state receives the grant, it could distribute the money to community health clinics rather than abortion facilities.

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KJZZ reported more about the legislation before it passed:

Arizona funds grants to Planned Parenthood through the Arizona Family Health Partnership. They get the state’s $4.5 million grant and then dole it out to providers. Almost half of that goes to Planned Parenthood for family planning services, but, none of it funds abortions.

The proposed state budget, though, would require the *state to apply for a federal grant for family planning, so, if they got it, the Arizona Department of Health Services — not the Arizona Family Health Partnership — would receive and divide up the grant money.

As KJZZ’s Will Stone reported Wednesday, Jodi Liggett of Planned Parenthood Arizona says existing state law prohibits that money from going to her organization, so that would effectively cut the women’s clinic out of the game.

Republican House Speaker J.D. Mesnard told the AP that the defunding measure is all about Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices.

“It’s obviously been the policy of this place that we don’t want to send any more resources to the No. 1 abortion provider than we have to,” Mesnard said. “Obviously there’s been some challenges at the federal level. Some changes to the federal level though more in our direction have facilitated this possibility.”

Herrod praised the move in a statement.

“Arizona lawmakers did the right thing by paving the way for the state to be a distributor of Title X money, putting Arizona in line with nearly half of the states in the union,” Herrod said. “[The state Department of Health Services] knows the health needs throughout the state and can distribute the funds in a way that best meets the needs of the diverse communities in Arizona.”

A Planned Parenthood spokesperson told the AP that the budget cuts could “jeopardize” its facilities in Phoenix, Mesa, Flagstaff and Tucson.

For years, Arizona lawmakers and pro-lifers have been working hard to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, but they have faced numerous roadblocks along the way. The abortion chain filed multiple lawsuits against Arizona in efforts to keep its taxpayer funding.

As reported, President Donald Trump recently offered to support an increase in Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding if it stopped aborting babies and focused on legitimate, non-abortion healthcare. Planned Parenthood refused.