May 4, 2011
For Immediate Release
(Helena, MT) – On Tuesday evening, Governor Schweitzer announced that the GOP violated the budget “deal” and will consider a veto of HB 2. Planned Parenthood of Montana --- its staff, its board of directors, and its almost 18,000 patients --- urge a full veto of HB 2 to address the exclusion of women’s healthcare in the budget’s current version.
“We urge Governor Schweitzer to veto HB 2,” states Stacy James, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood of Montana. “Standing up for women’s healthcare is just as important as fighting for education, children, and jobs. The women served by our clinics are mothers, sisters, daughters, and our neighbors. They deserve better than HB 2.”
HB 2, the state’s budget, has been shrouded in mystery since the April 22nd deal was struck between GOP leadership and Governor Schweitzer. With no mention of family planning, either state or federal funding, it is largely assumed that HB 2 restores federal funds but eliminates all state support for such critical women’s healthcare services as cervical cancer screenings, breast exams, or affordable contraceptives.
“HB 2 has not been fair to the women of Montana,” stated Stacey Anderson, Director of Public Affairs. “Women’s healthcare was targeted by Republicans beginning in early January and the loss of critical, life-saving access to healthcare was treated as a political “win” by GOP leadership. The cuts to women’s healthcare were, frankly, the leverage GOP leaders used to secure the votes they needed to pass HB 2 without a single Democrat.”
Prior to budget negotiations with the Governor, the GOP-controlled legislature eliminated $4.7 million in Title X federal family planning funding, $982,000 of state funding for contraceptives, and almost $1.2 million of state and federal funds for Medicaid family planning services. These funds represent over 95% of Montana’s investment in women’s healthcare as provided by local family planning clinics. Montana’s family planning clinics serve over 27,000 patients annually in 27 locations across the state, 85% of whom qualify for free or reduced fee services.