This week, NFA’s Executive Director Karen Bowling testified before the Appropriations Committee in support of LB 944, Section 71.
This section is a part of Governor Rickett’s 2018 budget proposal. It would prohibit the distribution of Title X Federal Funds in Nebraska to clinics that provide, counsel in favor of or refer for abortion. This is an important pro-life initiative to ensure taxpayer dollars are not being used to subsidize the abortion industry.
Karen Bowling LB 944 Testimony
Good afternoon Chairman Stinner and members of the Committee. My name is Karen Bowling, I am the Executive Director of Nebraska Family Alliance and represent them in my testimony.
We are here in support of LB 944, Section 71 – the restriction on the use of Federal Title X program funds.
Every Nebraskan should have ready access to critical healthcare services. The proposed change in Section 71, does not prohibit any provider from applying and receiving Title X funding as long as they do not provide abortion services or refer or provide directive counseling for abortions. If a clinic remains objectively independent and neutral, they are eligible for funding.
Section 71 proposed changes to the Title X regulations, is not about restricting access to healthcare services. Clinics and health centers that are separate from the abortion industry will remain fully eligible for Title X funds under the new provision.
If a clinic is involved in abortion-related activities and chooses not to follow the guidelines of the Title X funding program, they would no longer be eligible. However, there will not be fewer funds distributed across the state to eligible clinics. The same amount of government funds will remain available for women and men who use Title X services.
When Congress initiated the Title X grant program, its expressed will was that funds would not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning pursuant to the requirement of 42 U.S.C. 300a-6
Section 71 proposed language mirrors such intent and ensures providers keep their Title X services separate from the abortion industry and ensures accountability that taxpayers dollars are not used to support abortion.
In 2017, Congress passed and President Trump signed H.J. Res. 43 into law, giving states the power to divert Title X funds away from clinics that perform, counsel in favor of or refer for abortion.
Nebraska is fortunate to have many qualified clinics that provide comprehensive health services to low income and uninsured individuals in our state at reduced or no-cost rates. These clinics qualify for Title X funds.
Historically, the Nebraska Legislature has recognized the will of its citizens to protect unborn life whenever possible (Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-325(1)). I respectfully urge each committee member to support Section 71, LB 944 to assure that all Title X grant recipients continue to provide high quality, low-cost health care to low-income Nebraskans and medically underserved communities who provide, affordable, integrated care without funding the abortion industry.
Senator Skinner and members of the Appropriations Committee, thank you for your time today.