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Oklahoma lawmaker says by cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, bill harms women, children

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: February 16, 2012

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 national controversy and penalize the women of Oklahoma and the medical education system of Oklahoma needlessly,” said Cox, R-Grove.

House Bill 2324 would require the state Health Department or the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to prioritize expenditures or grants of public funds for family planning or counseling services.

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.

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