Oklahoma to drop Planned Parenthood funding


Planned Parenthood patients, volunteers and supporters rally outside the office of Assembly Speaker-elect John Perez to oppose cuts to family planning funds by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on January 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Oklahoma has said it will cut off funding for Planned Parenthood's participation in the state's WIC program.



Oklahoma's Planned Parenthood clinics will no longer receive federal funding to participate in the state's Women Infants and Children (WIC) program. 

WIC provides food, baby formula, nutrition and health advice for low income families. 

The state's health department made an unexpected announcement that it will drop the clinics, which have participated in WIC for 18 years, according to the Huffington Post.

The Tulsa World newspaper reports that three out of the four Planned Parenthood health centers in the Tulsa area that provide WIC services may have to close because the state is ending their contracts in December. 

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland CEO Jill June said the organization is fighting the contract's termination.

"We're going to do whatever we can to preserve our ability to continue to serve these women and children, because we know that's what they want and we know that we are a very good provider," she said.

This year, the Planned Parenthood clinics received $454,000, combined, reports AP.

Oklahoma is among several states with Republican controlled legislatures and GOP officials in every statewide elected office.

But Terry Bryce, the chief of the health department's WIC Services division, denied the move was politically motivated. 

"The decision was a collective decision within the agency based on the agency's need, the contractor's performance and funding availability," Bryce told AP.

June doesn't seem so sure that politics aren't behind the decision. "I think we deserve some answers, but, more importantly, the women who come to Planned Parenthood, they shouldn't be caught up in what I fear is a political attack," June told the Tulsa World. 

Oklahoma Planned Parenthood affiliates give referrals for abortions but do not provide them.