Last year, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe got all kinds of publicity for introducing legislation to steer women's health funding away from organizations like Planned Parenthood, through his misleadlingly named "Whole Woman's Health Funding Priorities Act." Now, he's trying again. This week he issued a memo seeking co-sponsors to reintroduce the bill, which would "prioritize the distribution [of funding] to the most efficient point-of-service health care providers."
The bill's "funding priorities" put public entities at the top of the funding list, followed by hospitals, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and other primary health providers. It bans any Department of Health grants to or contracts with entities that perform non-federally-qualified abortions. That's code for abortions that wouldn't be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement (ie. in pregnancies in which the mother's life is in danger, or in cases of rape or incest).
"Prioritizing" women's health care is not Metcalfe's idea — it's borrowed from places like Texas where, the Austin Chronicle reported earlier this year, "One direct consequence of these massive statewide cuts is a spike in the number and public cost of unplanned pregnancies; because of the family planning cuts alone, the state is anticipating the birth of roughly an additional 23,000 Medicaid-paid births that would not have occurred had the women had access to birth control."
Planned Parenthood already is prevented by state law from using state funds to pay for abortions, but uses the funds for other women's health services such as mammograms or providing birth control.
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