The Corner

Another State Acts to Block Public Funding of Abortion

Last week, Arizona — which has several laws in effect that prevent public funding for abortions — took a bold step to further ensure that taxpayer dollars are not bankrolling the abortion industry in that state. 

House Bill 2800, signed by Governor Jan Brewer on Friday, provides that neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state “may . . . enter into a contract with or make a grant to” abortion providers for family-planning services. Further, “subject to any applicable requirements of federal law, regulations or guidelines,” the law establishes a priority system for entities that may receive family-planning funding. 

Arizona joins at least 14 states that have laws prohibiting or placing restrictions on the allocation of family-planning funding to abortion providers. In 2011, ten states took new action to withhold family-planning funding, legislatively or administratively, from abortion providers. While at least four of these laws are presently in litigation, many lawmakers across the country are undeterred from their mission to better protect women and unborn children in their states. 

After all, it is not surprising that the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, and its supporters are not sitting quietly while their taxpayer “gravy train” is derailed.

There are three primary reasons for laws like the new Arizona law: (1) to prevent public subsidization of the abortion industry; (2) to prevent the state from giving an imprimatur to the practice of abortion; and (3) to ensure that family-planning funds are being used most effectively.

#more#Reasons one and two are straightforward — if abortion providers receive public funding to provide family-planning services, their private resources are freed to grow their abortion business. Further, states, by awarding contracts to abortion providers, are effectively promoting them and their grisly practices. 

Reason three hasn’t been talked about as much, but is critically important for women. The Arizona law prioritizes the provision of family-planning funding for entities that can provide comprehensive health care. This way, when a woman seeks family-planning services, she can also receive care for diabetes, hypertension, or any other medical concern. 

According to former Texas Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, Planned Parenthood’s internal surveys show that approximately 70 percent of women who visit their clinics do not follow up with referrals to other medical facilities to have other important health needs addressed.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, tacitly acknowledged this fact when she recently stated that “for many women, [Planned Parenthood is] the only doctor’s visit they will have this year.” Given that women need more than routine gynecological check-ups, it is clear that states should be permitted to prioritize funding for entities that can provide comprehensive care to their patients. 

Clearly, the 2009–10 health-care-reform debate brought public funding for abortion under the microscope. States across the country are continuing to work to ensure that public funds do not subsidize the provision of abortion — directly or indirectly. This is a bipartisan effort.

During the debates over President Obama’s health-care law, seven in ten Americans said they did not want their tax dollars to subsidize abortion. Getting the American taxpayer out of business with the abortion industry is something that every politician can attempt with broad support.

— Mary Harned is a staff attorney with Americans United for Life.

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