Gov. Pete Ricketts defends his administration’s proposed new language for Title X federal family planning money against harsh criticism from some state senators.
Ricketts rejects claims by some senators that he changed the language to cut Planned Parenthood out of federal funding.
“It doesn’t stop anybody from applying for these funds, but it allows us to preference people who have more comprehensive services,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference.
The language directed the Department of Health and Human Services to prioritize clinics associated with hospitals or medical clinics. So-called stand-alone clinics, such as those operated by Planned Parenthood, were left out of the language.
One state senator offered an amendment during legislative floor debate on the budget to restore the original language. He complained that policy shouldn’t be made in a budget bill. Other senators saw the change as a direct assault on Planned Parenthood.
Ricketts says stand-alone clinics can still apply for the federal funding.
“Again, it doesn’t cut anybody out of applying for funds,” Ricketts says. “What it does do is allows us to preference people like our federally qualified health care clinics that have broader services.”
State legislators are considering changes to the language to specifically include stand-alone clinics.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]