Planned Parenthood faces defunding
© Prince William TimesRICHMOND -- Virginia could be the next state to defund Planned Parenthood if a budget amendment proposed by pro-life Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, gains traction in the Senate budget.
Although House Bill 531 seeking to defund Planned Parenthood was defeated by a voice vote in the Health and Human Resources subcommittee, Marshall's identical budget amendment passed in the House budget by the Appropriations Committee.
Virginia legislators have entertained a number of bills and budget amendments to defund Planned Parenthood since 2010.
Marshall said an organization that makes political statements should not receive state funding. Marshall cited the Planned Parenthood "Keep Ken Out" campaign directed at anti-choice gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli also had introduced amendments to defund Planned Parenthood as well as forcing the Virginia Board of Health to demand all abortion clinics adhere to hospital building-code standards.
This year's amendment doesn't shut Planned Parenthood down. It doesn't prevent people from going there. It just prevents taxpayer money from paying for it, Marshall said.
"In an area of serious dissension, the one thing that a majority of Virginians agree on is that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay for abortions," stated Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia in a press release.
However, a piece of legislation called The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal money from paying for abortions.
It's wrong to defund an organization because it performs one legal procedure that you disagree with, Delegate Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond said.
"Everyone pays a tax for something they object to," McClellan said.
Planned Parenthood has taken blows across the nation as groups like the Susan B. Anthony List, a grassroots PAC, prioritize defunding Planned Parenthood. The SBA has supported states such as Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Indiana, Texas, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Tennessee and North Carolina in reducing or eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood.
Now, as the General Assembly session wanes to a close, the five Planned Parenthood locations in Virginia may face funding cuts if the Senate adopts the amendment into its version of the budget.
"I like a fair fight, when you are dealing with a child who can't defend themselves,” Marshall said. “And you have these abortion doctors doing this. That's not a fair fight."
However, the Planned Parenthood Annual Report for 2012-2013 states abortion accounted for only 3 percent of services.
According to the Virginia Division of Health, the five Virginia facilities collectively completed 6,252 abortions in 2012.
These same facilities offered services such as annual exams, birth control, family planning, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, counseling, STD testing and colposcopy procedures to 24,000 men and women in 2012.
"I think if Virginia were to defund Planned Parenthood there would be court cases to follow," McClellan said. "If we get a final budget, I don't think [the amendment] will be in there, but if it is, McAuliffe will veto it."