Save Family Planning, Save Public Health in WA State!

The King County Family Planning Advisory Board is a group of concerned individuals hoping to keep Family Planning funded in WA state. In the tough economic times within which we find ourselves, it is hard not to seek ways to cut the spending, and within our State Legislature, the pressure is very great to do so. WA state faces a $9 billion deficit!

However, even as we make the necessary spending cuts, we are concerned that Public Health generally, and Family Planning particularly, maintain state funding. These programs are vitally important to the health of our community, and are simply the implementation of social justice and common fiscal sense.

We must recognize that Public Health Family Planning Progams in WA are serving the poorest and most discriminated against groups in our populations. Many patients seen in these clinics will have no other contact with medical professionals. Family Planning clinics provide referrals to STD/STI, domestic abuse, primary care, and healthy choices services besides providing for family planning and contraception. These clinics serve a vital niche that even national or other non-profit organizations simply don’t reach.

Further, investiment in Family Planning is sound fiscal policy. The return on investment is huge – Guttmacher reports that spending $1 on Family Planning prevents $4.02 in later prenatal costs. The federal government thinks these kinds of programs are so important that they match every $1 spent by state medicaid programs with $9 of federal tax money!

If you are a WA resident, it is important to act now and tell your representatives to Save Public Health and Save Family Planning. Below are some important sites to get more information and get involved. 

Join our Facebook group!

Save Family Planning in Washington State!

More information on family planning programs in King County/Seattle:

King County Family Planning

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s action page to contact the state legislature:

Taking Action vs. House Budget Cuts to Family Planning:

Guttmacher Institute’s critical report:

February 2009 Guttmacher Report:"Next Steps for America’s Family Planning Program":












Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • invalid-0

    Why force us to fund programs that are not working — they are not reducing abortions.

    Abortions are on the rise at Planned Parenthood of Western Washington (PPWW). The PPWW annual report indicates abortions actually rose 16 percent from 7,790 in 2006 to 9,059 in 2007.

    The report also reveals that the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortions at Planned Parenthood of Western Washington rose from 18 percent in 2004 to 25 percent in 2006 to 58 percent in 2007.

    The abortion rise also occurred despite Washington state’s Take Charge pilot program.

    Take Charge is a Medicaid section 1115 Waiver program initiated in 2001 to provide free contraceptives to low-income women not already covered under Medicaid. It was originally funded for five years in 2001, then extended for three more years, and comes up for renewal in 2009.

    Planned Parenthood’s own annual report reveals that fully 70% of their 150,000 client visits were funded by Take Charge. The state is then left to cover the cost of an abortion or a Medicaid birth.

    The state is facing serious financial challenges. The last thing we need are government programs that do more harm than good and are actually failing to deliver the promised benefits.

  • invalid-0

    Nothing in your post indicates evidence for the claim that state programs are not preventing abortions.

    Statistics you cite all relate to only one provider (doesn’t indicate how many pregnancies or abortions are happening).

    The economy may have a significant impact on the number of intended pregnancies and the number of abortions. (People who can not afford to have a child may seek alternatives.)

    For many years resources have been taken from proven programs like comprehensive family planning education and funneled into abstinence only education and other initiatives which have been shown to be less effective. If there is an increase in the rate of abortions it might be further evidence of the failure of such programs, or reflect cuts in funding to proven effective programs, and therefore should add impetus for renewed funding for programs that have been proven effective.

    There was a 25% decline in visits covered by take charge. To what extent does this reduction in contraceptive coverage contribute to the increase in abortions? (i.e. is take charge or other contraceptive coverage effective, and declines in use due to stricter requirements, etc. are responsible for increase in abortions).

    PPWW is not a state funded agency, so relation between it and support for state family planning programs seems tenuous.

  • invalid-0

    I must agree with this last post. First, there is an important distinction between PPWW and WA Family Planning Clinics. They are funded differently (i.e. federal vs. state/federal combined dollars), and they tend to serve different populations (PP reaching more well-off with WA clinics serving a more economically depressed demographic). Each public health entity serves a niche in the community, but they need to be distinct in the discussion of budgeting, especially state budgeting. Family Planning clinics rely on state funding for upwards of 65% of their operating costs. State legislature needs to fund these programs or face serious fiscal consequences long term…

    Further, Take Care is a FEDERAL program that is state-run, i.e. the dollars come from the Feds, but states administer. In WA, as alluded to in post number 2, the state auditors have instituted stringent application criteria (SS#, Birth Certificate among other requirements), that have disallowed some groups (teens for example) from accessing this service. In fact, since those guidelines were first revised in 2006, there has been an increase in teen pregnancy. I won’t say that this is causative, but it sure does point to a possible issue of access. Interestingly, the Feds are seeking to lessen the restrictions on application to this program, and WA state will soon have to conform.

    If you’d want to know about the effectiveness of these programs, I suggest going to this site:

    This will link you to the 2008 Summary: Family Planning: A Public Health Success Story. These stats seem a bit more relevant than talking about PPWW stats, and the numbers suggest an efficacy that Post #1 doesn’t seem to grasp. They report that in 2007 alone, family planning in WA state averted 36, 727 pregnancies! At $14,103 in approximate costs for state-supported prenatal care, delivery, and first year medical care for just one infant, that seems like a hefty chunk of change saved…

    Finally,the first commenter is misguided in focusing solely on preventing abortion as the primary function of a Public Health Family Planning Clinic. WA state Family Planning clinics provide STD/STI screening and treatment, PAP smears to catch and treat HPV (which could result in cervical cancer if gone undetected), as well as contraception and pregnancy testing. While I understand those that feel there is a real fiscal importance of reducing unintended births and the need for abortion services, I also caution that the other services offered in Family Planning clinics are vital and should not be overshadowed by politics regarding the divisive issue of abortion.