On March 31 the Washington state House of Representatives released their biennial budget, which cuts the state’s largest family planning fund by 55 percent in 2009. Furthermore, in 2010 it eliminates the fund entirely.
Washington faces a severe financial crisis and legislators must make some cuts to address the staggering deficit. However, the draconian cuts to family planning proposed by the House present a clear threat. State funded family planning services save taxpayer money and are the only health care that many people receive. The House budget threatens to cut off more than 20,000 people from family planning services. Without these vital services Washington could face $19 million in new unintended pregnancy care costs, not to mention increased STI treatment costs.
Even in the current economic climate, we need not cut family planning services as severely as the House recommends. The Senate released a budget that saves $9 million out of $10 million for family planning programs.
The Washington state House of Representatives needs to hear from all of us. Tell them to support family planning and retain at least $9 million for the family planning fund in their budget.