For Immediate Release
May 22, 2013
Contact: Melissa Reed
NC Senate Diverts Women’s Health Services to Religious-based Non-Medical Provider
NC Senate budget provides $250,000 to umbrella group of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”
Raleigh—The Senate budget being heard and voted on today diverts $250,000 from the Women’s Health Services Fund to go to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, a religious group that provides staff training for so-called crisis pregnancy centers statewide. Republicans attempted to fund the Fellowship last legislative session through passage of Choose Life license plates, an effort stymied when federal court ruled the plates unconstitutional.
“Clearly, the NC Senate is more concerned with pandering to their political base than making sure that low-income women have access to real health care,” says Melissa Reed, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Health Systems.
The Women’s Health Services Fund was established more than a decade ago to provide family planning health care to low-income women who do not qualify for Medicaid. A significant portion of the Fund was dedicated to helping women gain access to effective, long-acting contraceptive methods like IUDs that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive. More than 20% of women of childbearing age in North Carolina are uninsured.
“There’s no question. Women without insurance will lose access to affordable, effective birth control if legislators vote to give much needed Women’s Health Services funding to a group that provides no medical care,” says Paige Johnson, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems and Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina are affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading reproductive health provider, educator and advocate. The two North Carolina affiliates serve more than 25,000 women, men and teenagers every year in health centers in Asheville, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.
“To suggest in the 21st century that a woman could be prevented from having access to birth control, even as far to the right as I am, that’s going off the cliff. This is going too far.” – Republican Rep. Bob Steinburg
House Bill 730, which has passed the NC House, originally contained a measure that would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception in their health plans. This step back in time was controversial even among Republicans, and was ultimately removed from the bill. While we can celebrate this win, the fight is long from over. The bill still deals with abortion care on three levels:
- extending the right to opt out of helping with an abortion procedure to any health care provider, not just doctors and nurses, as is the case under current law
- prohibiting health plans created pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act from including abortion coverage, despite at least one federal court ruling that such provisions run counter to the law and are therefore unenforceable
- prohibiting cities and counties from offering abortion coverage in their health plans greater than what the state allows in its employee health plan. Currently, the State Health Plan pays for abortion only in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.
These deeply personal decisions about a pregnancy are still best left up to the woman, her doctor, her family, and her faith, with no room for politicians to be calling the shots. The bill will now be sent to the Senate. We’ll keep you updated.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina is a pro-choice advocacy organization. The Action Fund mission is to advance and defend reproductive freedom for all. We elect prochoice leaders, lobby mercilessly, AND continue to be there for the women, men, and young people who rely on us everyday.
We achieve our mission by educating, organizing, and mobilizing pro-choice voters and by contributing financially (through our PAC) to help elect candidates who support reproductive freedom.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina ( a separately incorporated, funded, and operated entity) and its associated political action committee (PAC) have been standing up for women and families in North Carolina since 2000.
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