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State budget proposal would block federal funds to abortion providers

Federal funds would be blocked from health clinics that provide abortion services under Gov. Pete Ricketts’ state budget proposal unveiled Jan. 10, a move applauded by the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC).
 
“We are thankful for a governor who works to affirm the protection of unborn life in our state,” said Tom Venzor, NCC’s executive director. 
 
Ricketts said the move makes sense because of values held by Nebraska voters.
 
“Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state’s budget should reflect those values,” the governor said.
 
The proposal takes advantage of action taken by Congress last year that gives states more leeway in determining distribution of Title X funds, federal money earmarked for family planning and related health services, including contraception.
 
“Thanks to action by Congress, Nebraska can now take new steps to protect unborn life by ensuring that these dollars are not used to fund abortion,” Ricketts said.
 
Title X funds have been banned by the federal government from use for abortion services, but the ban often is not enforced at the state level. Ricketts’ budget proposal would require clinics that provide abortions either to physically and financially separate abortion clinics from their other services, or refuse Title X funding.
 
The proposal could impact Planned Parenthood clinics in Lincoln and Omaha that provide abortions and any other independent clinics that provide abortion services.  
 
Venzor said the proposal would “finally end the use of Title X money to prop up and help finance the abortion industry in Nebraska.” 
 
Ricketts proposed separating Title X funding from abortions in last year’s budget, but the measure was dropped before being debated by the full Legislature.

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