The same Republican-controlled legislature already attempted to remove funding for the state's two Planned Parenthood providers last year until a federal judge blocked the ban, arguing the state cannot single out a particular health provider solely because of its stance on abortion rights. This time around, North Carolina lawmakers found a way around the court's decision in its new budget bill by preventing the state's Department of Health and Human Services from contracting with private providers of family planning services, language allowing it to gut that funding from Planned Parenthood while still abiding by the legal decision.
Now, effective July 1, $343,000 will be redirected from private companies to state family planning funding. Although Planned Parenthood has been targeted because of its abortion services (by both state and federal lawmakers), legally, state money is already barred from subsidizing abortion services -- meaning, the cut will affect the clinic's ability to provide affordable birth control, cancer screenings and other preventive health services for low-income women.
Following the decision, on Tuesday a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina told the Huffington Post that, unless the group can replace that funding, prices for some services and prescriptions will likely increase.
This isn't the only recent bill that Perdue may be forced to veto due to family planning concerns. Last week, Perdue vetoed Republican-penned legislation that would have put hurdles in front of women considering abortions, by requiring them to receive information about the medical risks of abortion and details about the likely stage of fetal development. The bill also stated women would have to speak with a physician or nurse about the procedure at least 24 hours in advance for them to be eligible.
North Carolina is currently among a handful of states requiring women to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound before receiving an abortion, after the state legislature managed to override yet another veto by Perdue to enact the regulation into law. The state also requires women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours and receive state-mandated counseling before the procedure.
Women in North Carolina typically undergo abortions at a slightly lower rate than the national average, according to an analysis from the Guttmacher Institute. In 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, the legal abortion rate in the state was 17.5 per 1,000 women, compared to the national average of 19.6 per 1,000.