Politics Interfere with Breast Health Program Funding in California

By Rachel Walden — August 27, 2009

As noted in a recent article for the LA Times, Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernadino Counties is in a dispute with the Orange County (California) government over money from tobacco settlement revenue (TSR) that would have funded a breast health program for uninsured/low-income women under age 40 at high risk for breast cancer.

The County claims that the organization was denied funding for the program due to a missed deadline, while PPOSBC argues that the County set an unreasonable deadline and created restrictions not applied to other clinics receiving the funds.

According to the LA Time Times, Planned Parenthood and 17 other community clinics have received tobacco settlement revenue from the county for the last eight years, but PP’s contract was suspended in March after someone questioned taxpayer money going to a group that performs abortions.

Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernadino Counties has information about the situation on its website, including a description of the breast health program and a copy of the letter [PDF] sent to the County of Orange Health Care Agency on July 29th addressing the deadline issue, the county’s refusal to fund or treat Planned Parenthood in the same manner as other clinics, and the perception that barriers to implementing the breast health program are being created because of the abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood.

PPOSBC President & CEO Jon Dunn writes:

The real reason behind this parade of barriers, unreasonable deadlines and refusals to negotiate has nothing to do with providing vital health care to the uninsured women of Orange County. It is because Planned Parenthood offers abortion-related services, wholly independent from any services funded through TSR either in the past or contemplated. The County obviously wants to use any excuse imaginable to preclude Planned Parenthood from participating in the TSR program due to its opposition to abortion. The real losers in this attack on Planned Parenthood, of course, are the medically underserved men, women, and children who live in Orange County.

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