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Planned Parenthood President: If Feds Won’t Do It, We Need States To Defund Abstinence Programs

By Eric Scheiner | September 3, 2015 | 12:35pm EDT

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, whose organization is arguing states cannot defund Planned Parenthood, said in 2008 that when Planned Parenthood failed to get the federal government to defund abstinence programs, they pushed for the states to do it.

During a Ford Hall Forum in Boston on May 28, 2008, Richards was asked about abstinence-based education: “You said that this teaching of abstinence is 10 years old? And how did that get passed?” a member of the crowd questioned.

“It actually started under the Clinton – as a small program and then what’s happened in the last eight years is it’s grown,” Richards replied.

“Honestly, as with other sometimes federal programs, once it began to grow and there was more money in it, a whole industry sort of, has been created – an abstinence only curriculum and programs and groups that get funded from the federal government to do abstinence only.”

“They now have their own lobby in Congress to lobby for continued abstinence only programming,” Richards continued.

“It’s very hard to end federal programs and that’s why we’ve taken, really focused on the states.”

“We just need states to continue now to say ‘this is a program that doesn’t work for us and we’re not going to take any more money out of this program. Instead we’re going to redirect our resources of the state to what we think of as important, which is abstinence based but comprehensive sex education for young people.’”

Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in Alabama and Louisiana after those states made an effort to cut off Medicaid payments to the organization's clinics.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Montgomery, Alabama, Planned Parenthood accuses the governor of violating a federal law that they say requires Medicaid patients to have their choice of provider to receive family planning care.

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