This week the Indiana State Legislature voted to end taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood. Here in Washington, Planned Parenthood was testifying in support of legislation (SB 5912) that would increase their public subsidy despite a $5.5 billion deficit. During the course of their testimony, Planned Parenthood representatives explained that they really want to help reduce the number of abortions by giving people increased access to government funded contraception.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Summary of Concerns
SB 5912: Increasing eligibility for Take Charge to 250% of federal poverty level.
- Unintended pregnancies are NOT due to lack of access to contraception: There is no evidence that the current pregnancy rates are due to lack of access to contraception. Conversely, there is a great deal of evidence that there is already virtually universal access to contraceptives.
- Increased contraception use linked to higher pregnancy and STD rates: Access to contraception does not necessary reduce pregnancy rates. Recent studies have found that it actually has led to increased pregnancy rates, as well as STD infections, because those on contraceptives are more likely to engage in risky behavior.
- Funding Take Charge does not save money: The Take Charge Program has not managed to reduce state costs for live births in the last 10 years. In fact, under Take Charge, the state's costs for live births have increased more than 70%. Therefore, the assumption that an increase in spending for Take Charge can be calculated as a decrease in the state's budget is erroneous.
- Take Charge forces those who do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood to fund it: Take Charge primarily funds Planned Parenthood, a non-profit that millions of Washingtonians would not choose to support with their charitable giving. It is not appropriate to channel more than $20 million to an organization much of the public is morally or philosophically opposed to when so many uncontroversial expenditures are being cut or eliminated.
Monday, April 25, 2011
The special session will convene tomorrow. And when it does, the state Senate will continue to consider how best to close the $5.5 billion deficit the state currently has. One peculiar solution has been offered. On Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a public hearing on SB 5912, which would increase spending on contraceptives by $2.5 million. The bill proposes expanding eligibility for Take Charge, the state's primary state supported contraceptive program, to those who make up to 250% of the federal poverty level.
While taxpayers spend $15 - $20 million each year on Take Charge, (most of which comes from federal sources) the state pays much more to deliver babies than it did previously. In fact, since take charge has been operating,Washington State's spending on live birth's through Medicaid increased from $200 million to nearly $340 million in 2009.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
This morning, the Washington Senate passed a newly amended version of HB 1267, which would overhaul the Uniform Parentage Act. Because the House and Senate must pass the identical bill before it can be signed into law by the governor, HB 1267 has been sent back to the House. The House may be considering it tomorrow or possibly even this evening.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Just before the 5 o'clock deadline on Tuesday afternoon, the State Senate passed HB 1267 by a vote of 27-21 making significant modifications to the state's "uniform" parentage law.
However, an amendment passed by the Senate gutted the most controversial portion of the bill which would have authorized contract surrogacy. However, the bill will still remove the words "mother" and "father" from state law in favor of "parent" and make other revisions that move Washington further away from the expectation that children should be born with a mother and father.
Therefore, the passage of the bill was simultaneously a victory and a defeat.
Monday, April 11, 2011
On Friday, the Senate Rules Committee voted to send HB 1267, re-writing the Uniform Parentage Act and legalizing paid surrogacy, forward to the full Senate for debate. If the bill is going to be passed by the State Senate, it will happen either tonight or tomorrow. If you haven't yet contacted your senator about this bill and wish to do so, it is important that you do so right away. Even if you have, it would be good give them another reminder of the need to oppose this bill.
This bill would allow a woman to be paid to become pregnant and give up custody of her child, even if the child is biologically hers. The bill would require the women to give up the child immediately upon birth. She would have no opportunity to reconsider her decision. She could seek an abortion during pregnancy, but could not rescind the surrogacy agreement. Custody of the child would be based solely on the surrogacy contract, without any allowance for a judge to consider the best interests of the child. It is a lengthy and complicated bill with numerous problems. But if you believe that parental rights and a child’s well being is not something that should be bargained for in a financial transaction, you should oppose this bill.
Please ask your senator to oppose HB 1267. You can leave a message for your senator by calling the legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Supreme Court upheld the Arizona Scholarship Tax Credit legislation that provides a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions made to private tuition organizations, which in turn fund scholarships for private schools - many of which are Christian schools.
Despite the loud voices of a few disgruntled individuals, complaining that the law was a violation of church and state, the court ruled that a legitimate claim did not exist.
In many other states, similar legislation is being considered. As a result of this tax credit, funding for private and religious education may increase, allowing parents to more easily afford a private or religious education for their children.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington gladly supports the U.S. Supreme Court for its commitment to Parent's Rights and Religious Liberty in Education.