|Senator Val Stevens|
Long-time Senator Val Stevens, a Republican from Arlington, introduced a bill this session that would cut at least $7 million from the budget. As most are aware, Olympia is facing massive budget deficits, and the Governor has put out a call for all and any ideas for how to cut spending, especially without hurting the vulnerable.
Senator Stevens' bill fits that criteria to a 'T'. Yet the Democrats have completely ignored it.
Washington is one of a handful of states that pays for abortions under its Medicaid program. Thanks to the Hyde Amendment, it's illegal to use federal Medicaid money to pay for abortions, but states are free to use their own. (Medicaid is a complicated program funded by a mix of state and federal dollars, though the lion's share comes from DC.)
Most people are astonished to find out that fully half of all the 23,000 abortions in the state each year are paid for in full by taxpayers, at a cost of $7.3 million (for Fiscal Year 2009).
Senator Stevens' Bill (SB5336), which is well researched and carefully crafted, would eliminate Medicaid funding for all abortions except those that are truly necessary to save the life of the mother -- which is almost never, but important politically -- and those that resulted from sexual offenses (as defined in state law) that were reported to police within 7 days of the offense.
|Planned Parenthood of Western |
Washington CEO Christine Charbonneau
(right) just as happy as can be receiving
millions of your taxpayer dollars
a year for abortions.
The real problem is that the public is completely unaware of this bill. No statewide campaign was mobilized around it to lobby Senator Karen Kaiser, chair of the Senate Committee on Heath and Long-Term Care, to give it a hearing, which is the essential first step.
While we at AIW are supporters of Sen. Stevens, the political reality is that it's really no use to go through the motions of drafting such legislation and waiting around for the voters to get sick enough of the Democrats to give it a chance. There must be a statewide grassroots effort behind it.