Since President Donald Trump took office this year, there's a real - and completely justified - fear that federal funding for Planned Parenthood will be cut under his administration. Well, one state just made the first move to ensure that - no matter what happens on the federal level - the state government will support the nonprofit. On Thursday, April 6, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) let the bill pass without his signature. The law will earmark $2 million from the state's Medicaid budget and $700K from the state's general fund to pay for Planned Parenthood's services if it should lose federal funding.
The Associated Press reports that the new Maryland law "was about ensuring basic health care, including birth control and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections." (Federal law specifically does not fund abortion services and neither will the Maryland fund dedicated to keeping Planned Parenthood locations in the state up and running.) There are nine Planned Parenthood locations in Maryland and this new law, which takes effect July 1, will be good news to the 25,000 patients of these facilities.
"In today's political environment, Planned Parenthood is grateful for the support of our state legislature," Karen Nelson, president of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, said. "As Marylanders, we must remember that a state solution does not change the fact that politicians in Congress are trying to prohibit millions of people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood."
As one of his final legislative moves in office, former President Barack Obama issued a regulation of Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which ensured that organizations that provide abortions will receive federal funding for their other healthcare services. But this all changed last month when Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie in favor of allowing states to refuse Title X funding for abortion providers.
While Maryland is the first state to officially guarantee funding to the organization, it's reported that Nevada and Oregon have also discussed similar bills, and we hope more states will follow suit. Take that, Mike Pence!