Massachusetts To Fund Planned Parenthood Even If Federal Government Doesn’t

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The three political leaders of Massachusetts state government say they plan to make sure abortion clinics that also provide contraception to poor people continue to get public funds even if the federal government cuts them off.

“It’s something we are all very concerned about. We want to make sure that people here in Massachusetts, women, have access to reproductive services, all of them,” Governor Charlie Baker said Monday during a press conference with Karen Spilka, the Massachusetts Senate president, and Robert DeLeo, the Massachusetts House speaker, according to video published by State House News Service. “And I believe the Legislature’s planning to act on making sure that the funding is there for the rest of this fiscal year, and then depending upon what happens in the courts, we’ll deal with next year. But I would just say I think there’s unanimity among us that we should make sure that the federal policy change here does not affect women’s ability to access reproductive services in Massachusetts, period.”

The Trump administration has published a new regulatory rule that prohibits using federal Title X funds, which are meant to provide contraception for poor people, to go to clinics that also perform abortions at the same site. Referrals for abortions are also not allowed under the new rule, which is under court challenge.

Planned Parenthood is the chief target of the rule, since the organization performs abortions at its clinics and routinely provides referrals for abortions. Planned Parenthood gets about $60 million a year in federal Title X funds.

The House speaker and Senate president concurred with the governor.

“Quite frankly we found the actions of the president at that point to be outrageous …” DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “So we felt that we had to take action immediately. Although we all know that there are some injunction possibilities out there, as well. As we did last year with women’s protective reproductive rights, we wanted to make sure we had this as a protection for women’s health rights and concerns right now, as well.”

State legislators will be voting on the legislation with unusual speed.

“So if the House takes it up on Wednesday, the Senate will be taking it up on Thursday, and get it to the governor’s desk as soon as possible to send the message that we will not allow the federal government to take away women’s rights to plan with their own bodies and for their reproductive rights. We will protect women across Massachusetts,” Spilka (D-Ashland) said.

Baker, a Republican, and Spilka and DeLeo, both Democrats, all support legal abortion.

None of them mentioned Planned Parenthood during the press conference.

Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, late last week praised DeLeo and state Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for pressing for state funding for Planned Parenthood.