The $3 million proposed cut to family planning in the latest Senate Republican budget is unacceptable. With this cut, 12,500 low-income women in Washington state will lose access not only to birth control, but also to breast and cervical cancer screening and sexually transmitted infection testing.
Washington state cannot afford these cuts. With every $1 the state spends on family planning, the state saves $4.10 in maternity care. By cutting $3 million to family planning services, the state will end up spending way more in nine months as a result of unintended pregnancy care costs. Does this sound fiscally responsible?
The average out-of-pocket cost for birth control (pill, patch, shot and ring) is $45 to $90 a month. Add in $150 for one office visit and the total out of pocket cost per year for birth control is $690 to $1,230. Women who are living paycheck to paycheck with no insurance cannot afford to pay for birth control.
We need to stop making this a moral issue and do what is best for low-income women and children and for the state’s budget. Simply telling women to be abstinent is unrealistic and asking them to pay for their own birth control is ridiculous, because they are not able to afford it.