ST. PAUL, Minn. – With a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, the U.S. Senate recently passed a bill allowing states to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics. So what does it mean for Minnesota?
The federal family planning program, also known as Title X funding, has a budget of $286 million this year. Under former President Barack Obama, states could not withhold federal funds from abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, if they also performed other family planning services.
The new bill overturns the Obama-era regulation. The budget remains the same, but states now have the choice in how the money is dispersed.
“States are now able to act within their state authority to defund Planned Parenthood without risking the federal government’s punitive action against them,” Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) said in an email to Alpha News. “It is great to once again be able to exercise our legislative authority regarding Planned Parenthood funding without federal meddling.”
The discussion to limit state funds from going to abortion clinics has also been a hot topic this legislative session. Republicans have put forth multiple bills aimed at limiting abortion funding from state-sponsored health programs.
Now, Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics in Minnesota could be at risk of losing both state and federal funds.
While critics argue this would jeopardize women’s health care, Kiffmeyer believes defunding Planned Parenthood would not change the care a woman receives, saying there are many providers who can “take care of all women.”
“Minnesotans who find abortion as the killing of innocent unborn children do not want their taxpayer dollars going to this gruesome practice. There are many excellent women’s health care providers who can take care of all women without the questionable funding of Planned Parenthood,” she said.
Kiffmeyer says the fight is far from over, though, and thinks Gov. Mark Dayton might try to block any legislation that would take away abortion funding.
“Lt Gov. Tina Smith is the former director of Planned Parenthood, and she has great influence with him,” Kiffmeyer said.
Kiffmeyer’s bill to limit taxpayer funded abortions has advanced through multiple Senate committees. However, it has been put on hold while the legislature works out a budget. It is expected to get a floor vote later this session.