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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Planned Parenthood Montana Reacts To GOP's Vow To Pull Federal Funding

Planned Parenthood of Montana.

Planned Parenthood of Montana says it won’t go away even if congressional Republicans follow through on their vow to defund the organization.

And U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear this week; Planned Parenthood is about to lose its federal funding.

Defunding the group has long been a goal of anti-abortion conservatives and is now part of the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare.

If that happens:

"We will keep our doors open at our health centers and continue to provide those services, including abortion care as well as the other primary preventive services that we offer," says Planned Parenthood of Montana CEO Martha Stahl.

But Stahl concedes it won’t be easy to continue without that money.

Planned Parenthood of Montana’s federal funding amounts to about $1.8 million a year. Congress has previously said that Planned Parenthood cannot use that money to provide abortions.

But that doesn’t matter, according to the Montana Family Foundation which strongly opposes abortion.
Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy says that federal funding is still critically important to Planned Parenthood:

"Planned Parenthood uses these dollars to backfill other portions of the budget. So if they don’t get federal funding and they can’t make up portions of their budget on their abortion revenue, then it’s going to be hard for them to stay in business."

Laszloffy says if Planned Parenthood vanished, Montana women could get still access to excellent reproductive health care at any of Montana's community or county health clinics.

Planned Parenthood of Montana’s Martha Stahl points out not all of those local clinics have the capacity to absorb her organization’s clients. She says Planned Parenthood serves about 13,000 patients annually at its five Montana Clinics.

Stahl says Planned Parenthood is now actively planning for the possibility that it may lose its federal funding. If that happens she suggests the group may have to rely more on a donation-based fundraising model.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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