Washington State is expected to provide funding for Planned Parenthood after the organization decided to quit a $260 million federal family planning program. The organization provides health services to 90,000 patients in Washington.
Planned Parenthood was in an abortion funding dispute with the Trump administration about newly implemented rule prohibiting participating clinics from referring women for abortions. Instead of complying, Planned Parenthood backed out of the program, called Title X.
"We will not comply with their dangerous, unconstitutional, illegal rules," Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday, saying he’ll ask the Legislature to make up the $4 million in federal funding that will be lost for Planned Parenthood here. "We will make sure this health care continues."
Democrats have a majority in the State House and Senate.
Top leaders in Washington State and King County gathered Thursday morning to talk about the funding and their support for Planned Parenthood.
Gov. Inslee was joined by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and King County Executive Dow Constantine – both of whom were expected to make runs for governor but announced on Thursday that they would not following Inslee’s morning announcement that he was seeking a third term.
Governments in other Democratic-controlled states, including Hawaii, Illinois, New York and Vermont, say they also will try to replace at least some of the lost federal funding.
Anti-abortion activists who form a key part of President Donald Trump's base have been campaigning to "defund Planned Parenthood." Among its varied services it is a major abortion provider, and the activists viewed the grants as an indirect subsidy.
About 4 million women are served nationwide by the Title X program, which makes up a much bigger portion of Planned Parenthood's patients than abortion. But the organization said it could not abide by the abortion-referral rules because it says they would make it impossible for doctors to do their jobs.
After the quitting the federal funding program, Planned Parenthood clinics in several states are charging new fees, tapping financial reserves, intensifying fundraising and warning of more unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
"We believe there will be a public health crisis created by this denial of care," said Sarah Stoesz, the Minnesota-based president of Planned Parenthood North Central States. "It's a very sad day for the country."
Planned Parenthood will continue to participate in Medicaid, the federal health-coverage program for low-income Americans. That's Planned Parenthood's biggest source of government funding — about $400 million or more annually in recent years.
Information from KIRO 7 staff is included in this report.
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