Maryland Democratic lawmakers are backing legislation to give money to Planned Parenthood if the federal government decides to cut funding, a bill Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery) said has “very broad support” statewide, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The legislation would require a $2.7 million budget to pay for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services if federal funding is eliminated, and it has support from both House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas Mike Miller.
President Trump, who is openly pro-life but supports abortion in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger, informally offered Planned Parenthood an ultimatum — if abortions are put to rest, federal funding for the organization, which does not include funding for abortions, can stay. Planned Parenthood officials declined this offer, the New York Times reported.
“I am deeply committed to investing in women’s health and plan to significantly increase federal funding in support of nonabortion services such as cancer screenings,” Trump told the New York Times on Monday. “There is an opportunity for organizations to continue the important work they do in support of women’s health, while not providing abortion services.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has stayed silent on controversial topics such as abortion, but this state has been allocating funding for health care organizations, said Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse.
“Health care organizations have been consistently funded in each of the governor’s three budgets,” Chasse said. “Any future budgetary decisions will be made and announced at the appropriate time during the [fiscal] 2019 budget process.”
On average, Planned Parenthood provides almost 2.5 million people nationally with sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach, according to its website. It also offers services such as physical exams, medical screenings and anemia testing, among others.
About 25,000 Marylanders could be affected if the Trump administration follows through with its plan to decrease Planned Parenthood funding, said Planned Parenthood Maryland President Karen Nelson. As Trump and his administration have threatened to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which funds Planned Parenthood and subsidizes some abortions, concerns have sparked in this state and nationwide about the future of reproductive health.
In efforts to maintain reproductive health in this state, Del. Maricé Morales (D-Montgomery) has sponsored a bill to make emergency contraception available on college campuses 24/7. On Wednesday, the University of Maryland Student Government Association voted unanimously to support the bill, on the condition that the costs of these contraceptives are reasonable.
“We are thankful for our champions in the Maryland General Assembly for introducing proactive legislation that will ensure that our patients receive critically needed reproductive health care – regardless of what happens in Washington,” said Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.
Silver Spring’s Planned Parenthood location — the closest location to this university’s campus — will close on March 17 due to consolidation efforts in the Washington area, but in the past 15 months, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington has added two new locations in Northeast Washington and Suitland, Maryland, according to a news release.