Monday, May 10, 2010

Making Sure Every Woman Counts, Again

As previously explained on this blog, the governor’s first act of 2010 was to take mammograms away from 100,000 low-income women in California. In violation of the Legislature’s clear direction last summer, the governor restricted eligibility for Every Woman Counts (EWC) and has proposed to defund the program for the second half of FY 2010. EWC receives no financial support from the state’s General Fund.

Today, the Democratic members of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services fought back. They voted to restore funding to EWC. This new fundjng is needed to end the governor’s freeze in new enrollment and new eligibility restrictions to women aged 50 or older.

The pains of the governor’s cuts run deep. As reported over the weekend, the Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in downtown Los Angeles has been operating since 1944, now providing 13,000 mammograms a year primarily for low-income Latinas. As a result of the governor’s cuts, the Elizabeth Center has been partially closed for a month and without additional funding, the Center may close entirely within a matter of weeks. This tragedy is being repeated throughout the state.

California is indeed facing rough seas as we weather the worst financial storm since the Great Depression. But we cannot throw women out of the lifeboat first. Our message to women cannot be “sorry, you’re on your own.”

More work lies ahead to assure that today's inspiring action is ultimately included in the budget. But we are working in the right direction. Help us keep the pressure on the governor and Republicans during the rest of the budget process so that, once again, every woman will count in California. Every voice counts!