August 10, 2011; Source: Burlington Times News | In North Carolina a federal judge is now considering whether or not to invalidate the portion of the state budget that de-funded Planned Parenthood’s family planning services in the state. Republicans control the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century, which has resulted in a budget that forbids Planned Parenthood and its affiliates from receiving any contracts or grants from the state health agency. Planned Parenthood claims that it is being punished for using funds from other sources to perform and advocate for abortion.

Special Deputy Attorney General Mabel Bullock argued that the North Carolina General Assembly can decide it doesn’t want to support groups that favor abortion, and that it can make funding decisions to support that goal. “This is a statute that was passed because the majority of the General Assembly favors childbirth over abortion,” Bullock said. Planned Parenthood claims the statute is discriminatory.

Federal judges in Kansas and Indiana have ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in similar cases. In both instances, the states have appealed the rulings. It looks like this issue will eventually wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.—Ruth McCambridge