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Snyder and lawmakers disagree on controversial Planned Parenthood budget provision

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Snyder and lawmakers disagree on controversial Planned Parenthood budget provision.{ } (WWMT/Jason Heeres)

Governor Rick Snyder and the state legislature disagree on a provision that looks to cut funding to Planned Parenthood in the $56.8 billion budget.

Controversial language in the Michigan budget would require county health departments to favor family planning clinics that don't offer abortions, but the governor and Planned Parenthood officials say the provision is unconstitutional.

Disappointed, but not surprised, Lori Carpentier, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, calls the budget provision a political play.

Carpentier said, “Planned Parenthood and the patients we serve are often used at political footballs to fire up some folk’s base and without regard to what the actual practical consequences would be for the women and families of Michigan.”

The loss of funding, she says, would result in the loss of access to much needed reproductive health care and family planning services.

Republican State Senator Margaret O'Brien said there are other options.

O’Brien said, “You know I think what we saw under the Affordable Care Act, we have much more access to resources available and I question whether or not that funding is needed anymore. We have doctor's offices, people can go there, they can go to the clinics where as before when they didn't have insurance, they couldn't get to specialty offices, today they can with Medicaid and Healthy Michigan.”

Planned Parenthood served nearly 46,000 patients in the Title X Family Planning program in 2017, which is nearly 70 percent of the entire caseload in the state.

Without aid Carpentier asks how health care providers will be able to fill the gap in services.

She said, “So it really is offering substandard care and I think we accept the need for other specialists in other things, but somehow when it comes to women's health we don't, and that's simply not accurate and not everybody is covered under the Affordable Care Act. So, the notion that somehow that is sufficient is also lacking in basic understanding of what really happens in the world.”

Michigan law already prohibits the use of public dollars to fund abortions, which means the funding cut would only impact other health care services provided by Planned Parenthood, like mammograms, STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and birth control.

Snyder cannot line-item veto controversial Planned Parenthood language, but could declare the Planned Parenthood provision unenforceable, which could lead to a budget showdown between the governor and the legislature.