Letters to the Editor

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BUDGET: Don’t cut family planning funds

Letter by Ariane Chenard, Tacoma on March 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm with 9 Comments »
March 14, 2012 1:08 pm

Legislators in Olympia are now in a special legislative session, trying to balance the budget. Helped by three Democrats, Senate Republicans proposed a budget which suggests cutting 93 percent of family planning funding.

Knowing that every dollar spent on family planning services like birth control saves the state $4.10 in maternity costs from unintended pregnancies, where do these legislators think they will find the money they’ll need nine months from now to pay for maternity care? Cutting family planning doesn’t save money; what we “save” from any family planning cut, we pay four times over within nine months.

Legislators need to reject regressive budget cuts that don’t make economic sense and that hurt poor women disproportionally by making contraception harder to get. It is time to reaffirm that Washington state cares for women and families by funding family planning.


Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Good for you Ariane. The cuts you mention would be a huge mistake and they are not necessary. They are a part of the “war on women.” The democrats who went along need additional training I guess.

  2. olympicmtn says:

    So poor people MEN and WOMEN don’t know how to not have sex without state help? Keep your WOMEN rant out of the discourse of trying to control a bloated government full of fat to cut. Your rant is getting pathetic among women voters, too.

  3. the3rdpigshouse says:

    I always thought that’s why they had parent(s) – eliminate the waste of taxpayer funds – family planning!

  4. Fibonacci says:

    The “fat” has been cut, it is now down to meat and bone. With that said, I have to agree with the conservatives this time—–this is an area that should be cut, SOMETHING has to be cut, everyone keeps saying “don’t cut (insert favorite program) because it is so important”. Higher education and k-12 have been slashed, so maybe it is time to pay for your own birth control pills or condoms.

  5. You can hope all you want for people to be abstinent, they won’t be. Since the State pays for maternity care which is more than 4 times more expensive than prevention, education and contraception, it’s simple math: if the State cuts family planning funding, that will results into more unintended pregnancies and the hole in the budget will only grow bigger.

  6. Tonks765 says:

    For many families who are barely hanging on in the current difficult recession, an unintended pregnancy can result in hunger, homelessness or worse.

    Family planning is a safety net for both individual families and the state budget. It only takes 115 new unintended pregnancies to wipe out $1 million in short-term “savings” from family planning cuts.

  7. Family planning services cannot be boiled down to contraceptives. A family planning provider may be the only health care provider that an uninsured individual sees. That appointment might yield the only discussion about healthy choices that an individual has with a medical professional. Whether the result of that appointment is use of contraceptives or prenatal vitamins, it is an investment in healthy adults and healthy babies. It is a strange legislature that would cut away a cost prevention program in the middle of a financial crunch. I question that judgement.

  8. Well, then why not just shut down maternity care? Give some of those kids an incentive not to get pregnant, vs. simply giving them birth control that they either will forget to use, or use wrong, and end up pregnant anyway?

    I believe in subsidized birth control for those that want it. But not 100% free.

  9. I know these are tough times and it’s probably nearly impossible to balance the budget without some cuts somewhere but the fact is family planning saves the state money. Actually, we should increase family planning services, so we could cut the pregnancy care budget in Medicaid. Right now Medicaid’s largest single cost area is pregnancy care: about 50% of pregnancies in our state are unintended, and about 50% of births are Medicaid-­‐paid. We need Medicaid to ensure that low income women can have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, but we should be sure that every low income woman has access to family planning so she can prevent a pregnancy she’s not ready for.

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