HELENA, Montana, March 18, 2011 ( – Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives have moved to cut family planning money entirely from the state budget, denying local Planned Parenthood clinics a sizable chunk of state and federal funds.

The Missoulian reports that the GOP-run Montana House voted 53-47 last Friday to stop receiving $4.7 million per year in federal Title X family planning funds for the next two years. The cut would be added to another $1 million in state family-planning funding that both the state House and Senate voted to axe from the budget.

The measure will now go to the Republican-held Senate.

Rep. John Esp (R-Big Timber), one of the movers and shakers behind the effort to get family planning dollars out of the budget, told the Missoulian that contraception was “a matter of personal responsibility” and not the public’s concern or top priority.

If the measure makes it into law, it would also deprive Planned Parenthood of a key funding resource. According to the Missoulian, Planned Parenthood rakes in approximately half of the $5.7 million in public (state and federal) funds for contraceptive services.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t like their tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Wendy Warburton (R-Havre) told the newspaper. “When we’re having to make really tough cuts in other areas, I think they would resent their tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood.”

Warburton said that the House vote was a way to signal support for GOP efforts in Washington, D.C. to defund Planned Parenthood of federal money. She added that despite the billions that have been thrown at Planned Parenthood for contraception, there has been no substantial corresponding decrease in U.S. abortion rates.

Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed an historic amendment to a government funding bill that defunds Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars in Title X money, the measure was rejected in the U.S. Senate earlier in March.

House Republicans later approved a three-week Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government until April 8 and avoid a government shutdown, without the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. The Senate approved the measure, which now heads to the President.


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