Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed into law last Wednesday a state budget that prohibits abortion providers and promoters from receiving federal family-planning funding for the next two years. “Today, I signed new #prolife budget language into law,” Ricketts, a Republican, tweeted. “This provision ensures that Title X taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services, including abortion referrals, at any clinic in Nebraska.”
According to LifeNews.com:
The budget prohibits Title X family planning funds from going to any group that “performs, assists with the performance of, provides directive counseling in favor of, or refers for abortion.” The provision allows Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups to qualify for the funding if they stop aborting unborn babies or encouraging abortions. Groups also may qualify if they completely separate their abortion practices from their health care services.
State lawmakers had to make cuts to the two-year budget they passed last year because of “declining state revenue as well as increased costs,” reported Nebraska Radio Network, which noted that getting the budget through the legislature proved to be a daunting task:
Controversy engulfed the budget when Gov. Ricketts inserted language restricting the use of federal family planning funds. The language directs the money only to clinics which provide family planning services without performing abortions, effectively carving Planned Parenthood out of the budget. Supporters had to overcome a filibuster which derailed approval of the budget twice. It passed only when a handful of legislators negotiated a compromise, which changed the language, but left the restrictions in place.
Passage of the Title X restrictions was made possible by a law signed a year ago by President Donald Trump that overturned an Obama administration rule prohibiting states from denying such funds to abortion groups.
Nebraska currently distributes $1.9 million in Title X funding per year to serve about 28,000 low-income people. Planned Parenthood receives about $300,000 to treat nearly a third of those patients. Losing that much money will hurt, which is why the nation’s largest abortion provider issued a scathing press release about it.
“This is what happens when states follow in the steps of the Trump-Pence administration — women suffer,” Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens said in the statement. “Because of Governor Ricketts’ actions, 8,000 people in Nebraska stand to lose basic health care — care like birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and regular exams. Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients have nowhere else to go for health care. We will not stop fighting for our patients and every person’s right to control their own body, own lives, and own future.”
In reality, no one has a right to healthcare — and certainly not to abortion — at someone else’s expense. Title X is unconstitutional and should be repealed; but as long as it exists, taxpayers should not be forced to pay for procedures to which they object.
“I believe that abortion is inherently wrong, so personally I do not want to see those [Title X] dollars to go to that, but in general even those who are pro-choice understand that it’s bad policy to have federal tax dollars fund something that is so controversial and really ought not be funded by fed tax dollars,” Ricketts told Catholic News Agency last month.
Nebraskans seem to agree. Sixty-four percent of them told Public Survey Research in March that they oppose taxpayer-funded abortions.
Nebraska Right to Life executive director Julie Schmidt-Albin praised the pro-life budget, telling LifeNews.com, “The provision ensures that Title X funding for low income Nebraskans is protected while guarding against any illegal melding of Title X funds to support abortion activities.”
For the next two years, at least, many women wishing to kill their unborn babies in the Cornhusker State will have to do so at their own expense. Meanwhile, those who believe these women ought to be able to obtain abortions for nothing are, of course, free to donate their own hard-earned cash to make that possible. Let’s see how many ante up.