Planned Parenthood seeks to secure state funding amid California budget woes
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

.- California’s budget crisis has prompted Planned Parenthood affiliates to fight proposed rollbacks in state programs which fund the organization. The organization has praised a budget committee for rejecting the proposed cuts and is trying to rally further opposition to budget changes through a publicity campaign.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had proposed to roll back a rate increase for the Family PACT program, the California Catholic Daily reports. It provides free “family planning” services to qualified recipients under the state’s Medi-Cal system. Though it does not pay for surgical abortions, it provides the “morning after pill,” a drug some believe to have abortifacient properties.

The governor, announcing the proposed cuts, noted that Health and Human Services is the second-largest part of California’s general fund.

His proposal would have saved $36.8 million by reducing reimbursement rates paid to agencies like Planned Parenthood that provide services under the program. It is reportedly a major source for Planned Parenthood’s annual revenues.

Planned Parenthood affiliates claimed a preliminary victory in the state legislature. An e-mail to its supporters announced that the Budget Conference Committee had rejected the governor’s proposed cuts to Family PACT, telling its readers “We could never have passed this hurdle without your help -- it was a huge step in the right direction, but we’re not done yet!”

The rate increases for the program were instated in a 2007 bill advocated by Planned Parenthood in another large publicity campaign. They took effect in 2008, the California Catholic Daily reports.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which operates 34 clinics and 35 “satellite sites” in California and Northern Nevada, received 54 percent of its $55.5 million 2005 income from the Family PACT Program. In 2006, 55 percent of its $58.2 million income came from the program.

Planned Parenthood of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley is one affiliate encouraging its supporters to lobby the legislature.

“The budget is still not final, so we can’t let the pressure up now,” it said.

If the Budget Conference Committee’s proposed budget is approved by a two-thirds vote in the California Assembly and Senate, Gov. Schwarzenegger could still use his line-item veto to remove the Family PACT rate increases.

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