Planned Parenthood increases regional funding, cuts national staff

As abortion battles shift, Planned Parenthood will increase regional affiliate funding and reduce national staff

By: Geoff Mulvihill | Thalia Beaty | access point

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Planned Parenthood is shifting funds to its state affiliates and cutting national office staff to reflect a different picture in both the way abortion is provided and the way access battles play out.

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood’s facility on the east side of Columbus is one of nine in Ohio that provide abortion services. [Daniel Konik | Statehouse News Bureau]

The group, a major provider of abortion and other health services and also an advocate for abortion access, told its staff Monday that the layoff notices would be sent out in June. He provided The Associated Press with an overview Tuesday.

The changes will go into effect on July 1, just over a year after the US Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that granted the right to abortion throughout the country. Since then, most Republican-controlled states have banned or restricted abortion, and most Democratic-controlled states have taken steps to protect access.

“We are at a point where I just think Planned Parenthood needs to change as well,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the organization’s two arms: the Planned Parenthood Political Action Fund and the Service Provider Network. locals, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

She said the changes don’t reflect the organization’s financial struggles, just the priorities that need to change.

Currently, bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy are in effect in 14 states. Planned Parenthood affiliates have sued several states over their restrictions.

The organization plans to increase funding for non-abortion health services in states with bans. Planned Parenthood services include testing for sexually transmitted infections, contraception, cancer screenings, and gender-affirming care. The group also plans to increase funding in places where abortion remains legal to help care for patients traveling from restricted states.

To finance the changes, McGill Johnson said 10% to 15% of the group’s 725 to 750 employees, possibly around 100, will face layoffs in June.

Service Employees International Union locals representing Planned Parenthood workers criticized the layoffs. “We have served PPFA during the most difficult times for abortion access,” they said in a statement. “We deserve more than empty claims for equity and support for our future.”

In Ohio, a court blocked enforcement of the abortion ban after heart activity can be detected, usually about six weeks and before many women know they are pregnant. For now, the state has an influx of abortion patients from neighboring Kentucky and West Virginia and other ban states. But a court ruling could bring a strict ban to the state.

More funding from national Planned Parenthood will help, said Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Cincinnati-based Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region. “No matter what, we continue to build power and plan to protect and support patients who need access to care,” she said.

The national group plans to improve technology for sharing electronic medical records and telehealth. He will also launch an initiative to better serve black patients, particularly in the South and Midwest. That element is in a multi-year, $50 million effort that began more than a year ago and has so far focused primarily on the planning stages.

The political arm of the group seeks to increase funding at the state level. Last year, six states had ballot measures dealing with abortion, and the side supporting abortion access prevailed in all of them, even in generally conservative states like Kansas and Kentucky. Abortion is expected to be on the ballot elsewhere in the coming years, including in Ohio this fall.

The New York-based group said the black health equity initiative will cost $15 million in the next budget year and other items will total about $70 million. Political spending on these initiatives will add to those costs.

Also Tuesday, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a leading anti-abortion group, announced that it is working with Kellyanne Conway, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, to “put pro-life candidates on the offensive in the 2024 election cycle.” ”. ”