Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands CEO Chris Charbonneau speaks at a news conference addressing a change in rules on the nearly 50-year-old Title X family planning program as Gov. Jay Inslee, left, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson look on, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Seattle. King County Executive Dow Constantine, second left, , right, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, third right, look on.
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Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands CEO Chris Charbonneau speaks at a news conference addressing a change in rules on the nearly 50-year-old Title X family planning program as Gov. Jay Inslee, left, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson look on, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Seattle. King County Executive Dow Constantine, second left, , right, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, third right, look on.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Local Planned Parenthood: No federal money, no problem

State Democrats vowed on Wednesday to continue supporting Planned Parenthood and programs that provide reproductive health care.

The announcement comes in response to new federal rules prohibiting clinics that receive Title X money from discussing abortion access.

For patients like 19-year-old Emelia Barnecut, Planned Parenthood was more than a place that offers affordable birth control. It was the clinic where she sought help for an abdominal pain that wouldn’t go away.

“When I had to fill out the form and put down how much money I had, and say I don’t have any insurance card anymore that I can rely on, I was embarrassed,” she said.

The clinic was able to see her regardless of her ability to pay.

Planned Parenthood recently announced it would continue to provide a full range of services even without federal support. Washington state receives $4 million dollars under Title X.

John Weisman, Washington State's secretary of health, said they have no choice but to back out of the federal program.

“It is against Washington values and it is against state law for us to comply with those regulations,” he said.

Since 1970, low income women have been able to access affordable birth control and other health care services through Title X.

The attorney general’s office sued to block the new rule. A lower court granted an injunction, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals removed that injunction. The state is appealing that decision and will appear before a larger 9th Circuit panel on September 23rd.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee said he’ll work with state lawmakers to cover the difference.