Conservative state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Mordor) today again introduced legislation to defund Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and other organizations that provide abortions.
Flanked by fellow Republican lawmakers and representatives from pro-life organizations, Metcalfe touted what he calls the "Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act" which would "prohibit Planned Parenthood and all other abortion-on-demand providers from receiving taxpayer funding."
As we noted earlier this year, the measure would prohibit the state Department of Health from contracting with or providing grants to "any entity that provides non-federally qualified abortions." That means no state money for organizations, including Planned Parenthood, that provide abortions in cases other than rape, incest or a threat to the mother's life. It prioritizes entities like public health departments, nonpublic hospitals and federally qualified health centers, among others, that provide "whole woman" care for funding.
Metcalfe said at a morning press conference "that the war on women is taking place in every abortion facility in Pennsylvania and across this country ... You're putting women's health at risk every time an abortion is performed ... Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize abortionists and their facilities." (Anti-choice activists frequently claim that abortion has harmful effects on women, including elevated risks of breast cancer and mental illness. The National Cancer Institute and others have generally discounted such conclusions.)
Metcalfe and others at the event had especially tough words for Planned Parenthood. Metcalfe has repeatedly objected to any state funds the organization receives for other health services, claiming the agency is "utilizing taxpayer subsidies for their window dressing."
"They provide this testing to bring women in the front door at the same time they have someone in the back room performing abortions."
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania officials contend the bill would disqualify the agency for funds for services like breast and cervical cancer screenings, infertility treatment and birth control education, while noting state and federal law prohibit public funds from paying for abortions in Pennsylvania.
Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, offered a statement reading:
It's disappointing some politicians in Harrisburg would rather block women's access to cancer screenings, birth control, and annual exams than address the real needs of the Commonwealth. Women and families need high quality, affordable health care, not more political meddling.
Planned Parenthood won't let politics interfere with the health care that one in five women in America relies on at some point in her life. Planned Parenthood health centers are open in Pennsylvania today, and they'll be open tomorrow. Women are counting on us to protect their cancer screenings, birth control and basic, preventive care -- and we will fight for them."