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California cuts Medi-Cal by 10%, increases abortion funding 40%

The California Department of Health Care Services will increase funding for abortion by 40 percent in an effort to provide women “greater choice in selecting a contraceptive that meets their needs” to stop, delay, or limit pregnancy. 

In the Medi-Cal Local Assistance Estimate report for fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, the department details plans to cut Medi-Cal while increasing payment rates for abortion services. The California Legislature left in tact the 10 percent cut to health care providers serving Medi-Cal patients enacted during the recession.

The increase for abortion is tucked deep within the state budget plan signed on June 20 by Governor Jerry Brown, who championed California’s ability to increase welfare payments and fix budget woes. Brown signed the budget in the company of new state Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who spearheaded AB 154, a law signed by Brown allow non-physicians to perform suction aspiration abortions. 

Prior to the budget approval, Catholic bishops decried increased abortion funding, calling it “insanely distorted health care.”

“It’s cheaper for state government to pay for abortions than care for mothers and children,” said Rev. Jaime Soto of the California Catholic Conference. “By approving this budget, state elected officials are choosing abortion and pushing their preference on to women.”

The California Department of Health Care Services states that until Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives, or LARCS, are widely utilized, the increase in abortion funding ensures that abortion is easily accessible. A lack of abortions funding will result in “ongoing expenses for years,” the report said. This is likely due to the fact that unborn children are cheaper to terminate than to raise.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act praised the Golden State for responding quickly to the implementation of the federal health care law. Brown’s budget shifts an influx of uninsured individuals into the taxpayer funded Medi-Cal program, California’s version of Medicaid. The program pays for medical services for low-income individuals of all ages and conditions.

The budget takes effect in the state on July 1.

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