Share This Page

State planned Parenthood funds in peril

| Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 7:27 p.m.

HARRISBURG - A Republican lawmaker plans to introduce legislation today that would prohibit Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortion services from receiving any public funding.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, will sponsor the Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act, a bill that would mirror legislation passed in nine other states.

No figure was available on public money provided for family planning in Pennsylvania.

Sari Stevens, executive director at Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, said the organization served 120,000 women last year, providing cervical cancer screenings, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, consulting on birth control and family planning, and routine annual exams. Abortion services constitute 5 percent of its health care offering.

"Our position is that politics shouldn't interfere with where a woman gets her breast cancer screening and the fact that this will affect tens of thousands of Pennsylvania women makes it a major political liability in an election year," Stevens said.

Metcalfe could not be reached for comment.

Arizona enacted the Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act on May 4, and Planned Parenthood is considering litigation. Six other states face lawsuits from Planned Parenthood or the Obama administration.

"What you have is a cookie-cutter approach with feel-good names," said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, who opposes Metcalfe's bill.

Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which provides research support for the pro-life group, Susan B. Anthony List, supports legislation like Metcalfe's. He said the goal is to upgrade local health care through enhanced support for federally qualified clinics.

"The legislation is nonpartisan," he said. "It makes sure taxpayer dollars aren't channeled into programs that confuse abortion with family planning."

Christopher Borick, professor of political science at Muhlenberg College, said he doesn't think the legislation will get very far in Pennsylvania.

"Anytime you have controversial legislation like this, you're going to see a low likelihood of it moving very far because people don't want to touch it in an election year. This will help the Democrats build their narrative that the Republican Party is averse to women's rights."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.