Even though the majority of Americans don’t agree with Republicans’ quest to defund Planned Parenthood, abortion opponents across the country continue to find ways to target the women’s health organization — even at the expense of their own constituents. Republican lawmakers in Montana seem to be intent on joining the national trend, advancing a state budget that would strip over $4 million in Title X funding from Planned Parenthood and other community health clinics.
The state lawmakers leading the charge claim they want to prevent taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood because that funding will indirectly subsidize abortions. Of course, if Republicans are hoping to prevent abortions, eliminating family planning resources will have exactly the opposite effect. The state’s health department is warning that if the new budget goes into effect, it will lead to a 62 percent increase in unintended pregnancies and a 114 percent rise in abortions:
the Montana House unanimously passed a state budget that excludes these funds — some $4.5 million — accounting for 30 percent of the budgets for 20 community clinics and five Planned Parenthood Clinics in the state.
These clinics rely on Title X funding for reproductive and preventative health services, including cancer and sexually transmitted disease screening, STD treatment, contraception and health counseling. […]
Without family planning services provided by Title X-funded clinics, the number of abortions in Montana would go up by 114 percent, while the number of unintended pregnancies will rise by 62 percent, according to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.
The same situation is currently unfolding in Texas — where cuts to family planning services are projected to lead to an additional 24,000 unplanned births between 2014 and 2015, costing taxpayers an estimated $273 million in medical expenses and Medicaid coverage. Those numbers have convinced some of Texas’ GOP lawmakers to reconsider their push to eliminate preventative health resources, and Republicans may attempt to restore some of the funding this session.
The lawmakers in Montana may have a similar wake-up call. Although the state budget has already passed the House, there’s been a massive outcry to try to pressure the state Senate to reinstate the family planning funds in the final version of the legislation. According to the Associated Press, State Sen. David Wanzenreid (D) has already received more than 800 emails from constituents demanding that the Title X funding be reinstated.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Montana GOP has pushed to undermine preventative health services that could actually help prevent unintended pregnancies and abortions. Republicans are also attempting to place limits on sex education policies that “they believe are teaching bad morals” in public schools.