A measure that calls for prioritizing where Oklahoma allocates state and federal funds is meant to cut off money to Planned Parenthood clinics, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
Rep. Doug Cox, an emergency room physician, said clinics operated by Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, based in Tulsa, provide many services for children and women, including tests to detect precancerous and cancerous conditions. He spoke against the bill, which House committee passed.
About 70 percent of the women going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Oklahoma receive Medicaid, and the others are low income, he said. They would be unable to receive counseling, cancer tests and children's services if Planned Parenthood clinics weren't available.
“It's sad that we have a knee-jerk reaction to a
House Bill 2324 would require the state Health Department or the Oklahoma Health Care
Public entities would get first priority, followed by nonpublic hospitals and federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and nonpublic health providers offering primary health care services subject to any applicable requirements of federal regulations.
The House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 10-5 to pass the measure. It now goes to the full House.
Rep. Jason Murphey, the bill's author, didn't answer Cox's comments directly. After the meeting, Murphey, R-Guthrie, refused to say whether his measure would prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving state or federal money for family planning or counseling services.
“I want to establish criteria for the distribution of funds,” he said. “Health departments across Oklahoma, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics are going to have good access to that funding.”
Murphey last year tried to defund a $460,000 federal nutrition program administered by Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, which serves 9,300 people in the Tulsa area.
It would have redirected federal funds for the Women, Infants and Children's health programs to other providers that do not provide abortion referral services.
Planned Parenthood provides abortions in other states but its Oklahoma affiliates do not.
“I don't know why we're confusing abortion with family planning,” Cox said. “I suspect that if it wasn't for family planning the amount of women contributing to society and the Legislature and the workforce that makes this country great would be far different.
“A lot of them would be home barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen,” Cox said.
“I don't want to revert to those times. I don't want to punish Oklahoma women for getting healthier.”