Politics & Government

Bill to prevent federal funding for Planned Parenthood passes Kentucky House

The Kentucky House passed a bill Tuesday that attempts to make it more difficult for Planned Parenthood to obtain federal funding.

Senate Bill 8 establishes how federal funding for family planning is distributed in Kentucky, putting Planned Parenthood in the back of the line. The House approved the bill 75-13 and sent it back to the Senate to approve of changes before it goes to the governor.

Planned Parenthood is the top abortion provider in the United States, and as a recipient of federal funds, it has been a thorn in the side of abortion opponents, who have won several victories in recent years.

The bill won’t take effect unless Congress passes a law that allows states to prioritize their family-planning funding. Several states have passed similar laws, and anti-abortion activists have urged Congress to pass the legislation.

Supporters of the bill say that it will direct federal funding to local health departments and health organizations that don’t provide abortion services and will prohibit state and local funding from going to Planned Parenthood.

“The last thing we want to do with this bill is prevent women from being able to receive services,” said state Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville.

Opponents of the bill, however, argue that that’s exactly what it will do.

“For us to basically blanket them with a condemnation and to treat them as if they’re a demonic organization is really not necessary,” said state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville. “It’s not true and it’s very deceptive.”

Planned Parenthood provides family planning, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings and other services, and it’s often used by low-income patients. There are two Planned Parenthood clinics in Kentucky, one in Lexington and one in Louisville.

Supporters of the bill argued that any services Planned Parenthood provides can be performed by local health clinics and departments.

“There is not a service Planned Parenthood performs that isn’t provided by a local health department, except abortion,” said state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.

The organization receives about $500 million in federal funding for family planning services, but that money is forbidden from being used for abortions. Planned Parenthood in Indiana provides abortions, but the two clinics in Kentucky don’t.

The bill’s supporters argued that it’s impossible to tell where the money is going, and that by covering overhead for the organization, the money effectively supports abortions.

“Let us not tout the supposed good of an organization that does so much bad,” said state Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown.

Daniel Desrochers: 502-875-3793, @drdesrochers, @BGPolitics