SALT LAKE CITY — The head of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said Friday, prior to a last-minute budget deal by Congress, that the state stood to lose $1.7 million in family planning funds.
But Utah's public broadcast stations note the recent budget battle has helped with fundraising.
"They have got the audacity to say they will shut down the federal government over health care for women," Karrie Galloway, the association's president and CEO, said just hours before the deadline to reach an agreement.
Galloway, who was in Washington, D.C., for Planned Parenthood's annual national conference, said the GOP's 11th-hour attempt to force eliminating the National Family Planning Program would have a big impact on the state association's $7 million annual budget.
She said 85 percent of the 51,000 Utahns who use the association's family planning and other services rely on the federal funds to subsidize their care. By law, the federal funds cannot be used for abortions.
"We're not closing our doors immediately, even if the government shuts down," Galloway said. Utah has nine Planned Parenthood locations in Salt Lake, Logan, Ogden, Orem, Park City, South Jordan, West Valley and St. George.
But, she said, the services the association offers will have to be reconsidered. Those include breast cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease treatment and other health care in addition to birth control.
Congressional Republicans were attempting to tie funding for the program to a budget agreement that would keep the federal government from shutting down as of midnight.
In Utah, Planned Parenthood is the only entity that receives the funds, Galloway said. Most of the discussion in Washington appeared to focus on stopping funding to Planned Parenthood in the hope that would reduce money from other sources available for abortions.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the negotiations weren't an attempt to halt abortions.
"With regard to Planned Parenthood, look we've got to start cutting back," Hatch said. "And why would we give $350 million a year to Planned Parenthood, over 10 years $3.5 billion, when we can't afford it?"
Utah public broadcasters also have been paying close attention to the budget debate in Washington, because of a GOP push to end federal support that has already passed the House.
However, that debate — intensified by the threat of federal shutdown over the budget impasse — has actually helped both KUER public radio and KUED public television raise more money than ever during their spring pledge drives.
"If you want to look at it as a benefit from that, I think that KUER's pledges have been increased — if not the numbers, at least the amounts, by that threat," said pledge-drive volunteer Susan Anderson.
Anderson, a retiree, said the controversy made it easier this year to raise money. "People who cannot dig deep but who have not contributed before are contributing what they can and that's wonderful," she said.
KUER's station manager, John Greene, said the University of Utah-based station expected to raise $500,000, even more than their goal, when the drive ended Friday.
"We've never experienced a fund drive like this," Greene said. "It has been enormously successful."65 comments on this story
He said the station would survive if the federal funding ends. KUER receives $215,000 annually through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, about 9 percent of its budget.
KUED's general manager, Michael Dunn, said the U.'s television station is dependent on federal funds for about one-fourth of its annual budget. Losing the $1.7 million would mean airing fewer PBS programs, he said.
Dunn said the station's recently concluded fund drive was one of the best ever. "We had great programming, but I also realized people really responded," he said. "They felt the threat, they felt the need to respond."
Contributing: Richard Piatt