The Oklahoma legislature is considering a bill to dictate where Oklahoma prioritizes state and federal funds, which one lawmaker says is designed to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood clinics. Rep. Doug Cox (R), an emergency room physician, said that if Planned Parenthood was not available, many women and children would not be able to receive counseling, cancer screenings, and children’s services.
The bill, HB 2324, would re-prioritize the state’s family planning grants and public funding so that the money went to public entities first then nonpublic and federally qualified health centers. Essentially, the prioritization would put Planned Parenthood at the end of the line for grants and cut off its funding. Cox called the bill a “knee-jerk reaction” to the national debate about Planned Parenthood and abortion that would hurt the women of Oklahoma:
About 70 percent of the women going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Oklahoma receive Medicaid, and the others are low income, he said. They would be unable to receive counseling, cancer tests and children’s services if Planned Parenthood clinics weren’t available. [...]
“I don’t know why we’re confusing abortion with family planning,” Cox said. “I suspect that if it wasn’t for family planning the amount of women contributing to society and the Legislature and the workforce that makes this country great would be far different.
“A lot of them would be home barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen,” Cox said.
“I don’t want to revert to those times. I don’t want to punish Oklahoma women for getting healthier.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Murphey (R), would not say if his bill would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving state or federal money for family planning or counseling services. But last year, Murphey tried to take $460,000 from a federal nutrition program administered by Planned Parenthood, which serves 9,300 people in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His bill would have redirected the funds to other groups that do not offer abortion referral services.