OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma is withdrawing federal funding to three Planned Parenthood clinics in Tulsa that for 18 years has allowed them to provide food and nutritional counseling to low-income mothers — a decision that mirrors efforts in other conservative states to defund the group and one its director described Thursday as a “shortsighted political maneuver.”
The State Department of Health notified Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June in a letter last week that it would be terminating its contracts with the Tulsa facilities at the end of December. The contracts are federally funded through the Women, Infants and Children program. This year, the Planned Parenthood clinics received $454,000, combined.
The Tulsa World first reported on the plan to terminate the agency's contract on Thursday.
The head of the health department's WIC Services division said the decision was based in part on the uncertainty of future federal funds and that Planned Parenthood's cost per participant exceeded those of other Tulsa-area clinics.
“There were performance factors included in this decision,” said Terry Bryce, the chief of the health department's WIC Services division.
Oklahoma is among the most conservative states, with Republicans currently in control of both legislative chambers and every statewide elected office. But Bryce denied there was any political motive behind the move, which he described as a “business decision.”
“The decision was a collective decision within the agency based on the agency's need, the contractor's performance and funding availability.”
June questioned whether a business decision was in the best interest of the women and children who receive services at the Tulsa clinics.