Re: “Bill would aid state’s family planning services” (TNT, 4-27).
Senate Bill 5912 would increase the number of people who qualify for Take Charge, the Medicaid waiver program that allows women access to free birth control and annual exams.
It is important that state legislators recognize funding family planning as an investment. An average pregnancy costs our state more than $8,000, but a year of contraception costs only about $30 in state funds under Medicaid. Today there is a gap in eligibility between state Medicaid coverage for family planning services and coverage for pregnancy through Medicaid. This means for some women, the state pays for pregnancy costs but will not cover family planning services to help them avoid pregnancy.
The House’s budget included the increase in eligibility, but the Senate decided to create a separate bill. I attended the bill hearing on Tuesday. Public support for the bill was overwhelming, but several legislators’ opposition was clear.
I urge readers to tell their senators to support SB 5912. Increasing access to contraception means fewer unintended pregnancies, and therefore healthier pregnancies and fewer abortions. I believe legislators on both sides of the aisle should come together to support SB 5912 to support women and save our state money.