Last week, I criticized NARAL for going all Bikini Kill on the state's Department of Social and Health Services. NARAL was pissed because DSHS announced a $250,000 cut in reproductive health service programs. I didn't criticize NARAL for damning the cuts. But their press release called DSHS liars, which I thought was a bad tactic, and would sabotage NARAL's cause.
I was wrong.
So, while the Obama administration is busy yanking family planning money (and pissing off ObamaNerd, thank you very much), Gov. Gregoire is busy getting NARAL's back.
My apologies to NARAL. I now publish your victory statement press release in full:
Pro-Choice Activists Save Family Planning Nursing Program
DSHS reinstates funding for this critical program
SEATTLE – Thanks to the massive outpouring of phone calls and emails from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and other women’s organizations’ members and activists, the Department of Social and Health Services reinstated funding for the family planning nursing program in the supplemental budget. This funding will save the program just days before it was set to be eliminated.
“This is a tremendous victory for Washington’s women,” said Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. “Governor Gregoire and DSHS heard the message from the women’s community loud and clear, and we thank the department for moving quickly to save this program.”
The family planning nursing program, which staffs more than 70 full-time nurses in all the community service offices in the state, provides birth control, pregnancy testing, counseling and referrals to thousands of low-income women. The program is particularly important for women in rural areas, who might otherwise have no other options for affordable birth control. This program was originally cut from the supplemental budget, and nursing contracts were scheduled to be terminated on Saturday, January 31.
The family planning nursing program not only saves money for the state in terms of preventing the costs of unintended pregnancies, but it also provides a source of income for the state: the federal government matches state spending on this program 9 to 1.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington rapidly mobilized the state’s pro-choice majority to save this program. NARAL sent action alerts to their statewide email list, as well as more than 20,000 postcards to members and activists urging them to contact legislative leaders and the Governor’s office.
“Our grassroots advocacy has succeeded,” said Cooper. “A program that was slated to end just days from now has been saved, and the state will continue the successful and cost-effective family planning nursing program.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington will continue its grassroots lobbying efforts to protect family planning funding in the biennial budget.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Washington State. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington works to protect every woman’s right to access the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America.