Watching New Jersey’s family planning funding be removed, then brought back, then vetoed, then finally lost for good, was a situation that should make any person who wants to protect reproductive health and reduce unintended pregnancies shudder.
New Jersey has already begun to face the realities of this new fund-less future, closing its first clinic in Cherry Hill, with more to potentially follow.
Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, speculated on whether the same situation could happen in Minnesota should the Republican candidate for governor win the election, and it’s a resounding “yes.”
Thankfully, Governor Pawlenty has avoided making cuts to family planning—even in the wake of our huge budget deficit. But Tom Emmer is not on the side of reason when it comes to family planning. He is extremely anti-choice and has consistently voted against family planning. So when the time comes to balancing Minnesota’s budget, we have every reason to believe that Tom Emmer would pull a New Jersey and cut family planning completely.
What would that mean? Thousands of women all across Minnesota, especially in rural Minnesota where Planned Parenthood is often the only provider of family planning services, would have reduced access to the services they rely on. And it’s not just Planned Parenthood that receives these dollars—many clinics across the state would have to reduce services and some would close their doors completely.
Is eliminating family planning as a budget-balancing measure the next fad to hit the states, much as eliminating abortion coverage from state insurance was just after health care reform?
Yet another reminder of how important it is to vote in the upcoming elections.