Gov. Pete Ricketts announced late Monday that he will propose state budget adjustments that would prevent distribution of federal health care funding to health clinics that provide abortion services.

The governor will reveal his revised 2017-2019 budget recommendations during his annual State of the State address to the Legislature on Wednesday.

"With this change, no health clinics can receive funding unless they are truly separate and independent of any entity that performs abortions," the governor's office announced.

"Nebraska is a pro-life state and the state's budget should reflect those values," Ricketts said.  

"Thanks to action by Congress, Nebraska can now take new steps to protect unborn life by ensuring that these dollars are not used to fund abortion (or) subsidize abortion," he said. 

Currently, health care providers that also perform abortions are receiving federal funding passed through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the governor's office said.

Last year, he said, President Donald Trump signed a resolution giving states far greater latitude in the distribution of that Title X federal funding.

Lt. Gov. Mike Foley hailed the proposed change.

"By prioritizing federal funds to clinics that do not provide abortion services, Nebraska is sending the message that we are a state that respects unborn life," Foley said.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland called Ricketts' proposal an attack on Planned Parenthood and "part of an extreme agenda to completely dismantle reproductive health care access."

Planned Parenthood said 8,000 Nebraskans would lose access to health care at Planned Parenthood under Ricketts' plan, even though Title X funds don't subsidize abortion.

“How ironic that the governor would make this announcement on the same day that the Legislature spent hours debating Nebraskans’ right to make decisions about our own bodies when it comes to motorcycle helmets,” said spokeswoman Meg Mikolajczyk. “It’s absurd that Gov. Ricketts and his allies don’t agree with the Constitution that bodily autonomy should also apply to health care decisions.”

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On Twitter @LJSDon.


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