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‘Crippling Family Planning’

We applaud your editorial (June 12), “Crippling Family Planning,” which supported the successful state family-planning program and opposed the amendments proposed by Sen. H. L. Richardson (R-Glendora). You were absolutely correct in pointing out that his amendments would severely cripple the program.

Currently, the Office of Family Planning (OFP) reimburses health agencies, per patient, for contraceptive care after service has been rendered to eligible women and men (voluntary sterilization). OFP also requires and reimburses these same health agencies for offering pregnancy testing and referrals according to the woman’s choice.

Many future patients are attracted to these agencies because they have gained a reputation for non-judgmental counseling and referrals for all options--prenatal care, adoption and abortion.

Many women, upon learning that they are not pregnant, immediately ask for contraceptive care. This could be considered an “indirect advantage.” “Indirect advantage” is one of Richardson’s activities that would disqualify an agency from receiving reimbursement from OFP.

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His amendments would also disqualify any agency that “promotes . . . abortions.” This could be interpreted to include privately funded advocacy for continued legal abortion and a woman’s constitutional right to choose.

If Richardson wants to prevent the Office of Family Planning from making expenditures for abortion, he need only look at the law. The statute that created the family-planning program and OFP also states that “no funds shall be used to pay for abortion.” And, indeed, they never have. Many state audits of family-planning providers and health clinics have proved this.

We hope that the governor will see through the misleading rhetoric of Richardson and other anti-choice activists and decide to accept the $39.5-million family-planning appropriation in the state budget now on his desk. Half a million low-income women and men depend upon this program to control their fertility and to have children “by choice.”

ANDREW DILLMAN

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San Diego

Dillman is chairman of the board of directors of the Planned Parenthood Assn. of San Diego County.


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