Gov. Bentley cutting off state funding to Planned Parenthood

Published: Aug. 6, 2015 at 6:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2015 at 6:41 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday afternoon he is terminating state funding to Planned Parenthood.

This announcement comes after a controversial video was released accusing Planned Parenthood of selling fetal body parts.

"The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans, and I have decided to stop any association with the organization in Alabama," Bentley said in a statement. "As a doctor and Alabama's Governor, the issue of human life, from conception to birth and beyond, is extremely important. I respect human life and do not want Alabama to be associated with an organization that does not."

Bentley sent a letter to Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO Staci Fox informing her of the decision to end the agreement between Alabama Medicaid and Planned Parenthood Southeast Thursday. The termination will go into effect in 15 days.

Planned Parenthood Southeast has two locations in Alabama, one in Mobile and one in Birmingham.

According to the Alabama Medicaid Agency, a total of $4,351.37 has been paid to Planned Parenthood Southeast over the last two years. In 2014, $933.79 was paid for an office visit, one intrauterine device insertion and injections. This year, $3,417.58 has been paid for office visits, insertion of contraceptive implants, contraceptive injections, intrauterine device insertions and other injections.

Fox released a statement Thursday afternoon saying:

We are disappointed that Governor Bentley has been distracted by a deceptive attack against our organization instead of staying focused on what really matters to women in Alabama. What Alabamians need is more access to health care, not less.

As a high-quality provider of medical care to women across Alabama, ensuring access to quality health services is fundamental. Planned Parenthood Southeast has been providing high-quality, affordable health care in the state for nearly 80 years and each year provides health care and education to more than 22,000 people across Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Let’s talk about what defunding Planned Parenthood really means: It means taking away health care services for the thousands of women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for basic health care. Just two days ago, Bentley himself was quoted as saying that cuts to Medicaid affect real people -- like the Alabamians who will be cut off from care by this decision.

In 2013, 323,490 women in Alabama were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies and most women who obtain publicly funded family planning services do so at safety-net health centers like Planned Parenthood.  Every year in Alabama, Planned Parenthood provides women and men with lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control options, and, STD testing and treatment. Because of our health centers, low-income, uninsured women and families were able to access high-quality affordable health care through the safety net provided by Medicaid funding.

The courts have been clear that the federal law prohibits states from excluding abortion providers from Medicaid.  To date, two Circuit courts, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have reached the issue, and the Supreme Court has declined to review the Seventh and the Ninth Circuit decisions. Also the Center for Medicaid, CHIP and Survey & Certification (CMCS) clearly stated in an informational memo dated June 2011: “States are not, however, permitted to exclude providers from the program solely on the basis of the range of medical services they provide.”

Planned Parenthood’s doors remain open and we will continue to provide high-quality, compassionate care to the women and men who rely on us.

According to the governor's letter, Planned Parenthood Southeast can request a hearing with Alabama Medicaid.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced a similar decision earlier this week.

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