POLITICS
08/12/2015 03:42 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2015

Georgia To Provide Planned Parenthood With Free STD Test Kits Again

The state has one of the highest STD rates in the country, the CDC says.
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

 

Georgia's health department announced Wednesday that it has reached a new agreement with Planned Parenthood Southeast and will once again provide the organization with free kits to test for sexually transmitted diseases.

The initial decision to stop providing STD-screening tests came after the Georgia Department of Public Health lost some funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the department said Tuesday in a statement. But the health department and Planned Parenthood reached a compromise. 

"As a way to make up a portion of that lost funding, Planned Parenthood Southeast has offered to pay for laboratory services previously made available to them by DPH free of charge," the health department said in a statement released Wednesday. "The Department has accepted that offer and will now be able to continue to provide testing kits."

Money for the kits ran out on Friday. Georgia ranks among the top 10 states for highest STD rates, the CDC reports. 

The state informed Planned Parenthood of its decision to stop funding the screening kits on July 17, one day after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced a state investigation into the organization. The investigation came in response to the release of the first in a series of controversial undercover videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood illegally selling parts of aborted fetuses, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Some Planned Parenthood employees questioned the timing and motivation of the decision to cease funding STD-testing kits. 

Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO Staci Fox on Monday called the state's announcement "deeply concerning."

"We’re telling women their health care is not important," she said.

Planned Parenthood Georgia spokeswoman Helen Cox told BuzzFeed on Tuesday she thought the move was "politically motivated."

"I don’t believe it was a matter of funding," Cox said. "The timing is too suspicious."

Several states have taken efforts to stop funding Planned Parenthood since the release of the videos. On the national stage, Senate Democrats blocked a bill that would have pulled the plug on federal funding to the organization. 

This story has been updated with news that the funding has been restored.

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