To the editor:
If Missouri lawmakers are successful in cutting the State Comprehensive Family Planning Program from the state budget, there will be 33,000 men and women affected in 2003. The depletion of funding will ultimately impact several social-service programs. By 2004, Missouri could expect a dramatic increase of citizens enrolling in welfare programs.
The program serves Missourians who fall through the cracks of our health-care system. They do not receive Medicaid and do not have private health insurance. Over 76 percent of the women served at East Missouri Action Agency's clinics are below 100 percent of poverty. That's an annual household income of $18,400 for a family of four. If these women have one more pregnancy or health issue, the whole family may qualify for Medicaid.
Health screenings are provided through family-planning programs. If this funding is cut, Missouri can expect an increase in deaths from testicular, cervical and breast cancer, an increase in teen pregnancy, unplanned pregnancies in low-income families and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. And the number of abortions performed in the state will escalate.
I urge you to contact your state legislators and ask that the Comprehensive Family Planning Funding be restored.
Family Planning Director
East Missouri Action Agency
Park Hills, Mo.