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Family Planning, Health Care Safety Net On CA Chopping Block

February 1, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Schwarzenegger's plan to close a projected $20 billion budget gap has put more social services on the chopping block. If federal funds aren't secured by July, the Family Planning Access, Care and Treatment Program, or "PACT," is one that will be cut or eliminated.

Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of California, says her organization is seeing greater numbers of people who have lost their jobs and have nowhere else to turn for health services. Statewide last year, Planned Parenthood clinics had 700,000 patient visits. They provide free and low-cost preventive care, such as cervical and breast cancer screenings, along with testicular screenings for men.

Kneer points out that the federal government covers 90 cents of every dollar spent on the program.

"We're already getting so much for this program, it doesn't make sense to cut a 10-cent program when you're going to eliminate health care for 1.6 million women, men and teens."

Nationally, teen pregnancies are on the rise, but Kneer says California's teen pregnancy rate has dropped by 50 percent since 1992. She believes the Family PACT program has been part of that.

"The Family PACT program was started by Gov. Wilson, and through this program he has saved Californians billions of dollars - not just in the health care cost of unintended pregnancy, but the reduced social service cost and education cost. "

At least for now, Kneer wants low-income and unemployed Californians to know they still can receive help through Planned Parenthood of California.

More information about the program is available at www.prochoicepower.org. The governor's revised budget is at http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/14154/.


Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA