A state Senate committee postponed voting on a House-passed resolution asking the U.S. Congress to defund Planned Parenthood after teary testimony from an opponent.
State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, asked the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare to temporarily defer House Concurrent Resolution 54 from further consideration until next week. He said after the meeting that he wanted to wait until more of the committee’s nine members were in attendance.
Senators and their staffs had wandered away from the hearing and gathered around televisions to watch the Senate and Governmental Affairs committee. Senators on that panel were challenging Jindal administration officials over the governor’s unwillingness to disclose details about his recommendation for a lucrative contract and to release a independent financial analysis of one of this budget proposals.
Hoffmann said HCR54 informs Congress that the Louisiana Legislature does not support funding Planned Parenthood because the national organization is the largest provider of abortions in the United States.
The Louisiana House approved Hoffmann’s resolution by a vote of 72-20 on May 23.
The Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives last month amended the federal spending bill to remove funding for Planned Parenthood.
Julie Mickelberry, public affairs director of Planned Parenthood Louisiana, argued that the state group does not perform abortions but does provide information about the procedure, which is legal, as part of the group’s efforts to provide services for women. The group provides preventive health services, including screenings for breast and cervical cancer, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, she said.
Planned Parenthood health centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans provide the ser-vices to about 8,500 people every year, Mickelberry said.
Genevieve Dempre, of New Orleans, testified that she started visiting the clinic in New Orleans after, at the age of 22, she became too old to be covered by her parents’ insurance and the start-up business where she worked did not provide coverage.
A Planned Parenthood screening discovered melanoma and she was able to have it treated, Dempre said.
“I would have died had I not had access to these services,” Dempre said, talking around tears. “That is what they’re trying to take away from women.”