Lawmakers in Oklahoma are debating legislation that would make nutrition vouchers inaccessible to thousands of low-income mothers.
The Federal, WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program provides federal grants to states for food vouchers, regular check-ups and nutrition education for low-income pregnant women and mothers of young children. The state distributes the funds through nine independent contractors, including Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
State Rep. Jason Murphey (R) moved to amend the nutrition bill so that no independent contractors could administer the program. “We need to ensure that we’re not keeping clinics open on taxpayer’s dollars when one of their main emphases is abortion referrals.”
Planned Parenthood administers the WIC program for more than 9,300 low-income women and children a year. The amendment if it passes, would hinder many local women’s ability to afford nutritional food for their children. Women that are doing the best they can to provide for their families and themselves. In this fragile economy, programs like WIC help families make ends meet. If the amendment passes, only government entities like county health departments would be allowed to distribute the funds.