State GOP’s unconscionable plan to defund family planning

The state Senate Republican majority has proposed sweeping cuts to family planning in its budget this year. It’s an ideological effort that endangers women and costs taxpayers.

ACCESS to affordable family planning should be a nonpartisan issue. Family planning saves lives, reduces abortions and saves money for governments, health-care providers, women and their families.

Today’s public — men and women, Democrat and Republican, religious and nonreligious — overwhelmingly supports free contraceptive coverage. So why are we still debating whether or not women should have access to affordable birth control?

The short answer: ideology.

Efforts at the national level to end funding for essential health care for women is well known, particularly in the repeated calls by congressional Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood. But as Congress remains entrenched in bickering, conservative state legislatures are not only trying, but succeeding in rolling back access to basic health care for women — including access to family planning. The consequences of this have been dire. After Texas imposed cuts to family planning in 2011, it became the national leader in maternal mortality.

It might be surprising to many that similar efforts to cut family planning are being made right here in Washington. The state Senate Republican majority has proposed sweeping cuts to family planning in its budget this year.

To be clear, the majority of senators on both sides of the aisle would typically not support this. But with a slim, one-vote majority, Senate Republicans couldn’t afford to lose a single vote for their budget, which seeks to raise billions in a new state property tax for K-12…

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