Lansing, Mich. — Right to Life of Michigan is supporting language in the state budget that would require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to prioritize granting family planning funding to organizations that don’t provide abortions.
Michigan Public Act 360 of 2002 already requires those funds to be prioritized, but the state law is not being enforced.
“For 16 years the state law has been ignored,” Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said. “We’re happy the Legislature is taking this opportunity to make sure our law is followed.”
Currently Planned Parenthood receives federal Title X pass-through grants in seven Michigan counties where an alternative healthcare provider exists that doesn’t perform elective abortions. State law requires these non-abortion providers be given priority when the MDHHS allocates Title X funding. Planned Parenthood also receives funding in six additional counties where no alternative provider exists.
“There’s no reason a county health department should be losing out in favor of Planned Parenthood, which performs more than 320,000 abortions annually across the country,” Listing said. “It’s time for our state government to follow the state law and make sure our tax dollars are not helping Planned Parenthood expand abortion.”
The state budget language specifically requires MDHHS to contract with an alternative entity that applies for funding, given state law requires them to prioritize non-abortion entities. The budget language also requires MDHHS to prioritize counties where no family planning providers exist. Public Act 360 of 2002 requires MDHHS to award grants in a geographically-diverse way.
Listing said, “We should all agree that non-controversial places like county health departments should be at the front of the line. Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be able to cut the line. We also shouldn’t be duplicating services when there are counties that have no services.”
A spokeswoman for Governor Snyder’s office has said the language may violate the state constitution because it changes a state law, but the budget language doesn’t change the state law.
“We think the governor has been given bad information,” Listing said. “Our state’s law is clear, and the budget simply requires MDHHS to follow the law.”