In another example of the misplaced priorities, the Minnesota GOP is working to remove state and federal funding for family planning services. Originally the language banned the use of any federal or state dollars for family planning, but upon realizing this would stop medicaid dollars coming to the state, they adjusted it to only ban state and federal funds from the Minnesota Department of Health. The Department of Health provides family planning grants to clinics throughout Minnesota. The family planning special projets (FPSP) grants were implemented in 1978 under Governor Carlson and even Governor Pawlenty increased the funding for this program. This bipartisan measure provided 10 million dollars in grants to mostly rural communities helping them provide family planning and education. These funds provided cancer screenings, STI/HIV testing, medically accurate sex education and contraception. None of these dollars are used for abortion services.
Removing these funds will disproportionally hurt rural clinics. These clinics serve patients that are more likely to live below the poverty line and have an even greater need for state and federal aid. The clinics that receive these grants are small community clinics like Brown County Public Health-Sleepy Eye Medical Clinic, Lake County Family Planning, Open Door Clinic at Mower County, among others. Last year alone, these dollars provided family planning methods for 25,109 people – 15,101 of which live below the poverty line.
This move was based solely on politics and ignores 32 years of effective bipartisan public policy. Every dollar spend on family planning services saves taxpayers four dollars in other state medical spending. Teen pregnancies already account for a large number of births in rural areas and STI rates are on the rise. Over 1/2 of all MFIP (MN welfare program) dollars go to families that begin with a teen parent. All Minnesotans should have the knowledge and resources to prevent unintended pregnancies. Blocking state and federal funding for family planning in Minnesota will result in more unintended pregnancies and will disproportionately impact rural communities.