Republicans who stripped North Carolina Planned Parenthood have found their victory to be short-lived as the organization has successfully applied for federal funds, according to McClatchy Newspapers. Durham, North Carolina's Planned Parenthood Clinic was facing a shutdown as a result of the budget cuts, but will now be receiving three times what it lost to the cuts as a result of federal grant programs.
Paige Johnson, vice president of external and governmental affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, said, "We've weathered these increasing attacks on women's health care access the past couple of years. Now we're able to do more for our patients."
The Durham clinic, which does not perform abortions, offers contraceptives, pap smears, STD and diabetes testing and other health services to low and no-income women, and women without health insurance. When Republicans took the majority in the North Carolina state house, defunding Planned Parenthood was among their first priorities. The $125,000 they were able to take away turned out to be a fraction of the state's annual $20.2 billion state budget, but it was enough that the Durham clinic was facing closure.
Now armed with some $426,000, acquired through what is known as Title X family planning funding, the clinic is preparing to take on more patients than before, a necessary measure when the number of uninsured people in the U.S. is so high.
Emily Adams, vice president of operations at the Durham clinic, told McClatchy that the funding cuts were a close call.
"We have patients who have been coming to us for over a decade," she said. "When they turned to us and we didn't have sure resources, that's where it really hits."
The extra money provided by the grants will enable the clinic to expand its efforts within the community. Personnel plan to include health services for men and educational services for teens in the services offered by the clinic.
Republicans who unsuccessfully pushed for the shutdown of Planned Parenthood in the state claimed that women in need of health services could turn to their local public health departments, but the already overrun local health services often make women wait weeks or even months before being seen by a doctor. State Rep. Nelson Dollar (R) claimed that the cuts to Planned Parenthood were part of austerity measures designed to force the state "to live within its means."
Durham resident and former childbirth coach Amanda Ann Goodwin, however, said that the attacks by Republicans have been more about interfering with women's ability to obtain abortions that North Carolina's ability to rein in its budget.
"The politics is about abortion, but women still need women's health care," Goodwin said. "If you cut that aspect off - especially now when people can't afford insurance - if you cut that off, you're not only cutting off a particular service, you're cutting off the education. That's frightening."
According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, 524,000 women in North Carolina were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Title X-supported centers provided contraceptive care to 135,800 women in the state that year.
In that year, it is estimated that Title X-provided services prevented some 28,200 unwanted pregnancies, pregnancies that would have resulted in approximately 12,500 births and 11,800 abortions.