(Neb)-Ricketts Signs Budget Cut Bill With Anti-Abortion Language
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed a bill making cuts in the nearly $9-billion dollar 2-year budget passed last year, cuts that are needed to bring spending in line with reduced revenue projections.
Ricketts had proposed 4% across-the-board cuts for virtually all branches of state government in the fiscal year, but the bill he signed calls for a 2% cut for most agencies, just a 1% reduction for higher education, and slight increases for child welfare, corrections and a few other services
The package also includes language Ricketts proposed and championed that's expected to cut off federal family-planning dollars to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
It denies Title X money to clinics that perform, counsel in favor of or refer patients to abortion services, and it requires health clinics to demonstrate physical, financial and legal separation from abortion providers. Ricketts has praised the language as reflecting Nebraska status as pro-life state.
Although supporters of the language say it's not targeted at Planned Parenthood and that the group could qualify for funding by separating its abortion and non-abortion services, opponents say there's probably not time to do so.
Planned Parenthood used Title X funds to provide a range of family planning and healths services to about 8,000 low-income Nebraskans and its officials say their doors will remain open and they will continue fighting for patients.
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