- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi senators voted Wednesday to prevent the state Medicaid program from spending any money with Planned Parenthood, even if it’s only a few hundred dollars a year.

Senate Medicaid Committee Chairman Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, said in response to questions that Mississippi has spent less than $1,000 with Planned Parenthood each of the past five years.

“They have been reimbursed, on occasion for family planning services such as birth control,” Wiggins said.

Planned Parenthood has only one medical clinic in Mississippi, and it does not provide abortions. However, several senators said they don’t want Mississippi to spend money with an organization that provides the service in other states.

Senate Bill 2238 passed Wednesday amid broad support from Republicans and opposition from many Democrats.

“This whole thing is posturing to begin with, and we know it,” said state Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson.

Opponents questioned whether Planned Parenthood could sue Mississippi as it did with Alabama when that state tried to cut ties with the group.

Wiggins said the bill, sponsored by Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, was modeled after one from Texas. The move grew out of videos produced by abortion opponents suggesting Planned Parenthood was profiting from selling body parts of aborted fetuses. However, an investigation in Texas resulted in the indictment of the people who secretly recorded the videos, not Planned Parenthood.

Wiggins said he thought Mississippi should cut ties and said the indictment of the abortion opponents “didn’t change what Planned Parenthood did.”

“You are the company you keep and by Mississippi reimbursing Planned Parenthood through Medicaid, we are keeping that company,” Wiggins said.

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Online: Senate Bill 2238, http://bit.ly/1T9jvUk .

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