Montana, New Jersey Cut Funds for Family Planning
A hearing has been set for May for the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Montana against the state of Montana over its denial of birth control for teenage girls who are insured by the state's low-income health insurance program for minors, Healthy Montana Kids. The Associated Press reports that girls insured by Healthy Montana Kids are prohibited from obtaining the drug through its public insurance program if they are using it solely to prevent pregnancy. They can obtain the drug for other purposes, such as the treatment of acne or heavy menstruation.
Planned Parenthood of Montana clarifies that the "prohibition only affects young women and exclusively implicates prescription drugs used to prevent pregnancy...this denial of comprehensive healthcare for young women violates multiple sections of the Montana Constitution." About 10 percent of the 25,000 children covered by Healthy Montana Kids are females between the ages of 15 and 19. Though the program will not cover the drug for pregnancy prevention, teenage mothers receive coverage for prenatal and postnatal care, as well as delivery expenses. Last year, the program spent $720,000 to cover the costs of 43 births to teenage mothers.
State actions preventing the allocation of funds for family planning-related programs have been prominent over the course of the past month. In early October, New Jersey received $4.7 million from the federal government in order to fund teenage pregnancy prevention programs. However, the Newark Star-Ledger reports that about $1 million of this money must be spent on abstinence-only education programs. In late September, Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a measure that allocated $7.5 million from reaching the state's 58 family planning clinics. Due to lack of funding, two clinics have already closed in New Jersey's Camden County, and two more Burlington County clinics are expected to close this month.
Media Resources: Planned Parenthood of Montana Press Release 10/28/10; Associated Press 10/29/10; Star-Ledger 10/17/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/20/10