There might not be a more unpopular idea in Nebraska than sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. At last check, only 19 percent of voters thought the state should sign another check to America’s biggest abortion business. And late last week, legislators made it clear they were listening.
For the first time since Congress gave back control over their Title X “family planning” dollars to states, Nebraska used it — ending its $2 million partnership with Planned Parenthood in its new budget. For the next two years, taxpayers can relax, knowing that local dollars aren’t going to a group that thinks abortion is the best form of birth control.
Governor Pete Ricketts (R), who had fought for the budget to “reflect our values,” inked his name to the bill late last week. To the cheers of Nebraskans, he announced, “The budget adjustments I have signed help to further control state spending. Additionally, these bills contain important new budget language, which ensures that Title X taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services, including abortion referrals, at any clinic in Nebraska.”
But even with voters’ support, this was no easy task. As Nebraska Radio Network points out, Governor Ricketts really had to stick his neck out to change the budget.
Controversy engulfed the budget when Ricketts inserted language restricting the use of federal family planning funds. The language directs the money only to clinics which provide family planning services without performing abortions, effectively carving Planned Parenthood out of the budget. Supporters had to overcome a filibuster which derailed approval of the budget twice. It passed only when a handful of legislators negotiated a compromise, which changed the language, but left the restrictions in place.
Fortunately for the state, Governor Ricketts knows that life is worth fighting for. And, like us, he’s grateful for the president’s leadership on the issue. If it weren’t for Trump and the GOP leaders in Congress, Obama’s rules would still be in place — making it almost impossible for states to defund Planned Parenthood. Let’s hope that Ricketts’s courage inspires other governors to do the same!
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.