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Metcalfe: Limit Providers that Get Public Health Dollars

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Health care providers in Pennsylvania would be unable to receive public dollars if they perform abortions under a Republican state lawmaker's proposal introduced today. Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) is singling out Planned Parenthood in particular as one of the largest providers of abortion services that he wants to defund.

"They're utilizing taxpayer subsidies for their window dressing and as their public relations funding arm, and that's what needs to come to an end," said Metcalf.

The measure would make sure the state Department of Health could change how it allocates government grants and contracts.

No facility offering abortions that aren't sanctioned by the federal government would receive taxpayer money under the bill. Federal funding is prohibited from being used for abortion services except in certain extreme cases.

"Funding for women's health will go to providers that are actually focused on providing care for women rather than facilities that are focused on ending the lives of the unborn," said Metcalf. "This legislation will shut down access of tax dollars to abortionists."

Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania spokesperson Sari Stevens responded by saying it doesn't work that way. She said her organization doesn't get a lump sum from the government, it only gets money that goes directly toward subsidizing non-abortion services for patients, like a low-income woman who needs a cancer screening or an STD test.

"So a woman will come in and have subsidized services because she is low-income, or she's a college student, whatever the case may be. She is able to be eligible for some sort of subsidy, for a pap smear, for an STD testing, and then, therefore, she gets a reduced rate of services," said Stevens. "We're not getting that money, she's getting that money."

Stevens said the proposal would result in higher prices for non-abortion services for women who would otherwise qualify for subsidized care.

The Republican leadership has not yet reviewed the measure so it is unclear if it will be called in committee.