Brown backs Planned Parenthood

By Mark Arsenault
Globe Staff / March 23, 2011

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WASHINGTON — Senator Scott Brown said yesterday a Republican plan to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the women’s health service provider, is too drastic and a compromise for partial funding should be reached.

“I support family planning and health services for women,’’ Brown, a Bay State Republican, said in a statement. “Given our severe budget problems, I don’t believe any area of the budget is completely immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far.’’

Republicans have sought to eliminate all federal grants and contracts with Planned Parenthood, about $300 million, because the agency provides abortion counseling and services among its many programs for women. By law, none of the federal money can be used to pay for abortions, but abortion-rights opponents have argued that any financial support for Planned Parenthood frees up other money that could be used for abortions.

The argument comes as part of an ongoing budget fight: Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been unable to agree on a budget to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year; Congress has recently passed two short-term stopgaps to allow more time to reach a long-term deal.

Earlier this month, Brown voted in favor of the House GOP proposal that would have made the cuts, though he said at the time that he “would have had different priorities’’ in cutting spending. The Senate defeated the House plan, and a Democratic alternative, in a set of votes orchestrated by Senate leaders to force both sides back into negotiations.

Brown’s break with GOP leadership on the issue was praised by NARAL Pro-Choice America.