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.
Abortion providers, which also provide contraceptives, are strong supporters of this proposal. Take Charge has expanded their customer base to such an extent that more then half of Planned Parenthood's client's are now Take Charge enrollees.(see page 2) Planned Parenthood now does 11% more abortions annually than they did before Take Charge.
It has also been a financial windfall for them as well. In 1999, when Take Charge was created, Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, the largest of the five Planned Parenthood regions in Washington, had $5.5 million in revenue. (see page 9 line 17) In 2008, after 8 years of Take Charge, their revenues had jumped to $27.3 million. (page 2 line 9)
If you can make it to Olympia, please attend the hearing on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 at 2:30 pm, in Senate Hearing Room 4. Otherwise, please contact your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and ask them to oppose SB 5912.