Thanks to a new law on the books, Maryland is the first state to protect Planned Parenthood from being defunded by Congress. The law, HB1083, passed on Thursday, would reallocate state dollars in case of Planned Parenthood funding cuts from Congress. Altogether, the bill takes two million dollars from the state’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 from the general fund to effectively support and guarantee funding for Maryland clinics.
Nearly 40,000 people visit Planned Parenthood in Maryland every year.
Thanks to this bill, all of those people can trust they’ll have access to affordable care when they need it.
But a victory in Maryland doesn’t mean the fight is over.
“As Marylanders, we must remember that a state solution does not change the fact that politicians in Congress are trying to prohibit millions of people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood,” Karen J. Nelson, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, explained. “It’s incumbent on all of us to keep up the fight for women.”
After House Republicans failed to pass measures replacing Obamacare last month, PP funding was untouched, but without actual protections in place it won’t be safe. Anti-abortion supporters are pushing for a federal budget bill.
The opposition to Planned Parenthood is often due to abortion services. Opponents have “expressed concern” about “subsidizing abortion.” However, Planned Parenthood gives patients access to birth control and health-screening services as well.
And as Joanna Diamond of Planned Parenthood explained, “No federal funds go to abortion at all. All of them are [for] preventive health services, so we’re talking basic health care.”
It’s worth noting that HB1083 passed without the signature of Governor Larry Hogan.
It was one of 15 measures Governor Hogan allowed to pass without signing.
State Senator Richard S. Madaleno Jr. said, “Today, Maryland makes history…. While I wish our state didn’t need to fight the attacks on comprehensive health care by Congress, we are proud to stand up and protect access in Maryland.”
The historic bill will take effect July 1, 2017. In case of any congressional cuts, we’re glad at least one state has funding in place.