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Nevada governor candidate wants state funding for Planned Parenthood

Updated April 27, 2018 - 3:22 pm

Nevada Democrat Chris Giunchigliani told the Review-Journal on Thursday that she would direct state funding to Planned Parenthood and other family-planning centers — a first for Nevada — if she’s elected governor.

Giunchigliani’s plan deals a blow to her toughest Democratic opponent, fellow Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who has attempted to cut into her base by appealing to voters who favor reproductive and abortion rights.

In the plan unveiled Thursday, Giunchigliani proposed putting family-planning as a line item into Nevada’s budget, pegging state general fund money to these services.

It’s unclear how much it would cost, but the funding would support at least 10 family-planning centers across the state, according to the plan. Outgoing Gov. Brian Sandoval will draft next year’s budget, but the newly elected governor can make amendments. Sandoval declined comment on Giunchigliani’s plan.

Sisolak, who touts himself as a moderate Democrat, started airing TV ads sitting next to his daughters, who lauded Planned Parenthood’s services. Sisolak spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said Planned Parenthood “will always have his support,” but did not say whether Sisolak would support Nevada funding Planned Parenthood.

Giunchigliani, a county commissioner who served 15 years in the Nevada Assembly, said she’s stood with Planned Parenthood her entire political career, and fought in 1999 to ensure Nevada insurance companies cover birth control.

Her appreciation for the clinics began when an anxious 16-year-old Giunchigliani sought advice from a Planned Parenthood center in rural Chicago inside a tiny trailer.

“When I was in high school, I availed myself to their screening and family planning,” Giunchigliani said. “They made me feel comfortable and showed me respect.”

Planned Parenthood does more than provide birth control and abortion services. According to the organization’s website, its health centers offer routine checkups, preventative care, cancer screenings and medical exams. It has provided services to 2.4 million men and women across the country.

“I think with all the threats in Congress we need to have access to health care services including family planning,” Giunchigliani said. “It’s a statewide program, and I want to make sure we are protecting something that we had and we never funded.”

As a candidate, President Donald Trump threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, and a failed health care bill last year would have stripped federal funding.

Giunchigliani’s plan also calls for expanding funding of family-planning grants to serve rural Nevada and to enact sex-education reforms outlined in an Assembly bill last year. Those reforms include ensuring sex-ed curriculum is evidence-based, updated and taught by qualified professionals.

She also voiced support for a measure that would eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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