AUGUSTA, MAINE, May 18, 2012, ( – The state of Maine has defunded family planning services, depriving an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood of $400,000.

Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, signed a budget Wednesday morning designed to erase the state’s $83 million shortfall. One of the structural changes deprived Family Planning Association of Maine of $400,000 in taxpayer revenues.

Maine Right to Life Committee was enthusiastic about the change. In an alert posted on its website Wednesday, MRTLC stated, “In final votes last night, the Senate passed the budget 19-14 and the House approved it 75-61. Governor Paul LePage signed the budget this morning. As you know, the Governor’s 2013 budget defunds Family Planning Association of Maine and Planned Parenthood in the amount of $400,000.” 

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s website explained the difference between PPNNE and Maine FPA. “Think of us as a family tree with different branches and leaves,” its website states. “In Maine, the Family Planning Association of Maine (Maine FPA) provides technical assistance, statewide lobbying, performs grants management functions, trains physicians to provide abortions, and provides family planning services in Augusta.”

“This is a great day for Maine’s unborn and their mothers, who are better served by providers not compromised by the wholesale destruction of innocent human life. Abortion is not healthcare,” Maine Right to Life stated. “We believe Maine women and their children deserve better.”

Governor LePage also approved the budget. His spokeswoman,Adrienne Bennett, stated, “The governor’s encouraged the Republicans are making some of these structural changes that will move Maine forward.”

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The state’s liberal and feminist forces disagreed.

Eliza Townsend of the Maine Women’s Lobby said, “The programs that were slashed today are effective, proven strategies that improve public health, reduce unwanted pregnancies, prepare young children to learn, allow low-income parents to earn a living, and support our most fragile elderly. Cutting spending in these areas is shortsighted and fiscally irresponsible.”

“What the debate demonstrates is the difference between the parties,” said Sen. Philip Bartlett II, D-Gorham, a critic of the move.

In addition to the defunding Maine PFA, the new budget would take 19- and 20-year-olds off the state’s Medicaid rolls, and shrink its Head Start and prescription drug budget.

The state’s fiscal year ends June 30. Because of the vote margin, these reforms will not take place until mid-August.

Maine Right to Life Committee is asking all readers to send Governor LePage a note of appreciation:

Governor Paul LePage
The Blaine House
192 State St.
Augusta, ME 04330