Earlier this month, Pennsylvania House members – mostly Republican – voted for burdensome, expensive new regulations for abortion providers, citing their concern for women’s health and safety as their only motive.
Last week, they approved the House Republican version of the FY 2012 state budget in House Bill 1485. It looks like the rhetoric of protecting women’s safety that figured so prominently in the House floor debate on abortion was all but forgotten when it came time to actually fund programs that save women’s lives.
In approving this budget, the House cut funding for domestic violence programs in the Commonwealth by 10% – amounting to a decrease of over $1 million. This cut will take funding for domestic violence programs back to the level it was at in 1998.
Just between 2008 and 2009, domestic violence related homicides increased by 48% [PDF]. This increase shows how important it is that the 92,000 battered women and children who seek help in Pennsylvania continue to access programs that help them escape violence in their own homes.
It is easy to see the effect a 10% cut in funds will have when, in the hundred-day budget delay last year, two shelters had to shut down. The effects of a 10% cut will be widespread and devastating if we do not do something about it.
The budget has passed in the House, but still needs to pass the Senate. Now is the time to call your senator and tell them that cutting programs desperately needed by women and children in Pennsylvania is not the moral way to balance the budget.