Oklahoma U.S. senator introduces bill to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood; group claims it could end up costing taxpayers

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WASHINGTON – An Oklahoma senator has introduced a national bill that would “defund” Planned Parenthood.

Sen. James Lankford introduced the “Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act,” which would redirect funds from Planned Parenthood to other eligible women’s health care providers.

Lankford also cosponsored a bill to repeal the Department of Health and Human Services’ new rule to amend regulations implementing the Title X Family Planning Program, which allows federal grants for organizations like Planned Parenthood.

The bill would “prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America or any of its affiliate organizations.” However, Lankford says it would protect federal funding for health services like diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, cervical and breast cancer screenings.

He says it would also ensure that there is no reduction in overall federal funding available to ‘support women’s health.’

The bill is almost identical to a measure that was proposed in 2015.

“For years, our nation has debated life and abortion, but at least we should agree that no taxpayer should be forced to fund the largest provider of abortion with their hard-earned tax dollars,” said Lankford. “Planned Parenthood receives millions in private donation money every year, and they’ve experienced an increase in donations since President Trump was elected. There is no reason for a private non-governmental organization, like Planned Parenthood, to receive $500 million a year in taxpayer money. Redirecting taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood to other entities that provide women’s health care won’t put Planned Parenthood out of business, it will just ensure that taxpayers don’t fund their activities.”

While it is clear that Lankford is concerned about taxpayers paying for abortions, the organization says that fear is unfounded.

The organization says that it is already against the law for federal money to be spent on abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is in danger.

Instead, Planned Parenthood says most of their federal funding is from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care and Title X.

“Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office projects that barring Planned Parenthood health centers from being reimbursed through Medicaid would result in a net cost of $130 million to taxpayers over 10 years due to an increase in unintended pregnancies without the high-quality contraceptive care that Planned Parenthood provides,” it states on the organization’s website.

According to the GAO report in 2015, contraception accounted for 34 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. The organization also says that screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases account for 42 percent of their services.

In 2014 alone, 1.1 million pregnancy tests were administered at Planned Parenthood, along with 3,445 vasectomies and 718 female sterilization procedures.

According to the organization, 323,999 abortions were performed in 2014, which accounts for 3 percent of their services.

Although Planned Parenthood operates several health clinics in Oklahoma, only one facility offers abortion services.