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Massachusetts GOP governor vows to cover Planned Parenthood funding if organization is defunded

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), right, takes questions from members of the media as Mass. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, left, looks on during a news conference at the Statehouse, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has vowed that his administration will cover funding for Planned Parenthood in the Bay State if the organization loses its federal funds, according to Reuters.

Lizzy Guyton, a spokesperson for Baker, said in a statement provided to Reuters that the governor is "a strong supporter of women's health and believes the commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure access to the important health care services offered by Planned Parenthood in all corners of our state."

"The administration is prepared to fund these services should the federal government pursue changes that would block care for women and families here in Massachusetts," Guyton added.

Reuters reported that “about $2 million of the group's $21.5 million budget in the state comes from reimbursements for services to Medicaid patients.”

Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, applauded Baker’s position in a statement.

“I thank Governor Baker for his commitment to the health and wellbeing of Planned Parenthood patients,” Childs-Roshak said:

Yet no Governor should be put in position of trying to mitigate attacks on women in his or her state made by Congress. At a time when extreme politicians in Congress want to block millions of people from accessing essential preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers, it is reassuring to see Governor Baker put the health and wellbeing of our communities ahead of politics. Governor Baker’s support for Planned Parenthood’s patients makes clear that women’s health, sexual and reproductive health, and access to affordable health care are all non-partisan issues. I hope his fellow Republican colleagues in Washington, D.C. take note of Governor Baker’s leadership and follow suit.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told the Boston Herald that he is disappointed Baker seems “fixated” on protecting funding for Planned Parenthood when there are over 200 federally qualified community health centers clinics that — unlike Planned Parenthood — don’t perform abortions and have not been accused of trafficking aborted fetal body parts.

In the wake of allegations that Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of aborted fetal body parts — a felony in the United States — the group underwent a congressional investigation. The House Select Panel on Infant Lives made a series of criminal and regulatory referrals during its investigation. Planned Parenthood has maintained that its affiliates acted lawfully and merely facilitated the donation of tissue to researchers.

Republican lawmakers in Washington have indicated that they will seek to redirect funds currently granted to Planned Parenthood to community health centers.

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