By Barbara Holt
North Carolina Right to Life
Approximately ten Planned Parenthood supporters attended the House Appropriations meeting on April 27 sporting pink tee shirts. Others, including a couple of the representatives on the committee, wore stickers saying, “I stand with Planned Parenthood.” They were upset because there is a section in the proposed budget that defunds Planned Parenthood. Inc. and its affiliate organizations.
During the day-long meeting comprised of explanations and amendments, Rep.Verla Insko (D-Orange) offered two amendments aimed at restoring the funding to Planned Parenthood. The first was to restore all funding, while the second aimed at allowing Planned Parenthood to receive funds that come to them through the state from other funding sources.
Both of the amendments failed. Only the first vote was a recorded vote; 37 voted to restore the funding to Planned Parenthood while 51 voted to keep the section which defunds the organization. This vote was mainly along party lines.
Rep. Insko defended her attempts to restore the funding by saying that Planned Parenthood provides family planning and contraceptives services to 25,000 women and to some men. She did not mention the abortion and abortion referral services that Planned Parenthood provides.
The Daily Tarheel quoted Paige Johnson, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Central North Carolina, saying, “Losing funding would disproportionately affect low income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services like mammograms and birth control” 1 According to the web site operated by Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. none of the nine Planned Parenthood Health Centers in NC do mammograms, all nine web sites say they provide “mammogram referrals”2
Each of the nine Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston Salem charge for their services, take insurance including Medicaid, and expect payment at the time of service unless other arrangements have been made. They discount some services, but not abortion services or HPV vaccines, by 50% for those under 18.
Five (Chapel Hill, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Winston Salem) provide abortion services. Chapel Hill provides full abortion services, including the chemical abortion RU-486, up to 20 weeks lmp; Fayetteville, up to 14 weeks lmp; Wilmington, up to 13.6 lmp; and Winston Salem, up to 16 weeks lmp. (Note: N.C law requires abortions after 20 weeks or more to be performed in licensed hospitals.)
The cost varies from $400 for the chemical abortion; $330 for an abortion up to 12 weeks lmp; $975-1025 for an abortion 17-18 weeks lmp; and $1525 for an abortion up to 19 weeks lmp. These charges do not include IV medication, $100; ultrasound, $116-175; medication for RH negative, $33-103, or follow up for the chemical abortion if over a month after the initial visit, $170-200. 3
Additionally, they charge $30 for a required surgical procedure within a month of the chemical abortion or $55 if the surgical abortion occurs after 1 month. These charges substantiate the claim that the RU-486 chemical abortion does not always result in the complete expulsion of the dead unborn child and a surgical abortion is later needed to complete the abortion.
The web site for the Chapel Hill Health Center furthers says, “We have funding which allows us to offer large discounts on abortion services to those who qualify based on their income and family size.”3 Since this center is located near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one would assume that these discounts would be offered to students who can not include their parent’s income as their own and would therefore qualify for a discount based on their income.
In response to remarks made by Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford) in favor of restoring the funding, Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) pointed out Planned Parenthood’s ties to its founder Margaret Sanger’s well established support of eugenics and the part her views still play in how Planned Parenthood operates and what its mission is. Rep. Stam also made references to how North Carolina has had to deal with its own past attempts at eugenics. He reminded Rep. Adams that he had sent her a book about this eugenics connection because of her close association with Planned Parenthood.
Rep. Stam did not mention the name of the book he sent to Rep. Adams, but this author suspects it might be “Margaret Sanger’s Eugenics Legacy: The control of Female Fertility” by Angela Franks, Ph. D. Dr. Franks spoke at a Prayer Breakfast sponsored by North Carolina Right to Life in 2010 in Raleigh. Her web site says her book is “a meticulously researched and carefully referenced work on the history and ideology of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood.”4
Two other budget items of interest to North Carolina Right to Life and pro-lifers in general are the Repeal of the State Abortion Fund and the limits on abortion for the state health plan and other government administered insurance plans.
After being slashed from more than a $1 million to $50,000 in 1995, the State Abortion Fund has been at that $50,000 level until now. If this current budget provision remains intact, this will be the first time since 1978 when the fund was first established by Governor Jim Hunt that there will not be a line item in the budget funding abortions with state dollars.
The other section in the budget which prevents abortion funding states: “No State funds may be used for the performance of abortions or to support the administration of any governmental health plan or government-offered insurance policy offering abortion, except that this prohibition shall not apply where (i) the life of the mother would be endangered if the unborn child were carried to term or (ii) the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit medical care provided after a spontaneous miscarriage.”5
Various legislators have tried unsuccessfully in the past to rid the State Employees Health Plan of elective abortion coverage. This section limiting coverage will finally accomplish what prior attempts have failed to do.
More recently, the University System has begun requiring students who do not have private coverage to sign up for a student health insurance plan through the University which does provide elective abortion coverage. This section limiting abortion funding will fix this problem.
If these sections survive the attempts to undo them, then these provisions will provide the tax payers of the state with a great victory. The vast majority of taxpayers, including those who consider themselves “pro-choice,” do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions.
While there were no attempts to amend these sections of the budget, the debate is not over. The proposed budget now goes to the House floor the week of May 1 and then to the Senate where it will be debated in committee and on the Senate floor. Stay tuned to find out what happens to these provisions.
NOTE: NORTH CAROLINA RIGHT TO LIFE TAKES NO STAND ON CONTRACEPTIVES, MAMMOGRAMS, ETC. These items are only mentioned because they were brought up in the debate and to point out the discrepancies between what Planned Parenthood says and what it does.
Barbara Holt is the President of North Carolina Right to Life, the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, organized in 1973 with chapters across the state.