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State changes to birth control funding put federal grant in jeopardy

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UNDATED (WSAU) State health officials say they’ll find a way to preserve an $11-million federal grant that gives pre-natal care and other health services to women-and-children. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the grant could be in jeopardy under Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan to drop state funding for birth control and health screenings from Planned Parenthood and similar providers.

Assembly Democrat Tamara Grigsby raised an alarm about that at a meeting of the Joint Finance Committee yesterday. She said it would be “insane” to end the entire maternal-and-child block grant just to go after something politically like Planned Parenthood. The state needs to spend $4.7-million a year on women’s-and-children’s health services to get the federal grant for “Title-Five” services.

Seth Boffeli of the health services department said spending on other programs can count toward the requirement beside what Walker plans to drop. He did not say which programs would meet the requirement.

Nicole Safar of Planned Parenthood says the money Walker wants to cut brings in an extra two-million dollars in federal funds to her group and others. And without it, Safar says some agencies won’t be able to continue family planning services for the poor.

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