Monday, March 19, 2007

Blunt Cuts Funding to Planned Parenthood

Governor Matt Blunt has eliminated a state contract with Planned Parenthood clinics in Springfield and Joplin.

Blunt says patients shouldn't have to go to an abortion clinic for free health screenings.

Today, he called for $500,000 in state funds to go towards his Show Me Healthy Women program. The funds will expand cervical and breast cancer screenings to more than 1,200 more Missouri women.

“Too many women suffer from debilitating and often fatal diseases like breast cancer and cervical cancer while they should be enjoying the prime years of their life,” Blunt said. “The half million dollars we are providing will give more Missouri women access to life saving screenings and preventative care and complements Mo HealthNet’s efforts to focus care and services on health and wellness," Blunt said.

The Show Me Healthy Women program will offer free breast and cervical cancer screenings to thousands of Missouri women who meet specific residency, age and income guidelines. The additional funding is more than six times current state funding and will allow the program to serve an additional 1,225 women next year.

Jordan Valley Community Health Center will be expanding their program to provide even more screenings for women. Joplin's Ozark Tri County Health Care will also be joining the program to provide the screenings.

But in order to make that happen, Planned Parenthood with lose its state funding. Planned Parenthood has been part of the state program for 15 years.

“Patients should not have to go to an abortion clinic to access life saving tests,” Blunt said. “Today I put an end to taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood in Springfield and Joplin through the Show Me Healthy Women Program. This ensures women may access important preventative care without contributing to abortion providers’ goal of facilitating the destruction of innocent life," Blunt said.

Planned Parenthood says it has provided breast and cervical cancer screening to more than 1,500 women over the last five years as part of the Show Me Healthy Women Program.

In addition to cancer screenings, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri provides nearly 6,000 women annually with annual exams, STD screening, contraception education and services.

“Planned Parenthood does more each day to reduce unintended pregnancy that Governor Blunt will do in his entire career,” said Kellie Rohrbaugh, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri. “Governor Blunt’s sudden decision to cut a 15-year partnership to prevent cancer in Southwest Missouri is a shocking, misguided act driven by political ideology rather than sound health care delivery.”

Neither health center participating in the cancer screening program provides abortion services, nor have they ever, said Rohrbaugh.

“People in our community should be suspicious about Governor Blunt’s efforts to tie this political ideological decision to eliminate a qualified provider from the program with the announcement this increase in funds for the program,” said Rohrbaugh. “Governor Blunt has a history of misleading the public about preventive family planning services. Today’s he’s claiming that a Planned Parenthood in southwest Missouri’s family planning clinics are abortion providers when they are not. Last year he falsely claimed that pharmacists had been fired for denying women abortions when they were fired for refusing birth control," she said.

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