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By EMERY P. DALESIO
Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Planned Parenthood is going to federal court to fight the new North Carolina budget that cuts it off from receiving federal and state funds for family planning.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Greensboro by Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina says the group is being punished for its abortion-rights advocacy and that violates its free-speech protections.

The group got nearly $290,000 in federal, state and matching local funds last year to provide contraceptives to poor women and for teen pregnancy prevention.

Planned Parenthood says state and federal laws bar taxpayer money from being used for abortions. The organization contends North Carolina lawmakers cut off contracts to punish it for performing abortions using other money.

The non-profit group operates clinics in Durham, Fayetteville and Chapel Hill.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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