Televised Lies -- Abortion Choice Won't Raise State Taxes

YOU'VE probably seen the 30-second television spot against Initiative 120. Two couples are chatting at a backyard barbecue about the measure that would write abortion rights into a state statute. Don't believe what they're saying.

The ad patently lies about taxes going up $60 million. And it lies about the state paying for abortions for wealthy women. Nowhere in the initiative are taxes or money mentioned.

Initiative 120 merely affirms longstanding state administrative policy. Publicly funded medical programs for qualified poor women currently cover both maternity and abortion costs. Last year, the state paid $62.6 million for 23,463 deliveries of babies and $2.6 million for 7,584 abortions for poor women.

The initiative will not increase the number of women eligible for state-funded medical care or increase the number of abortions performed.

The opponents make the preposterous statement that abortion funding will go up to the same level as funding for live births. It won't. The measure, echoing existing policy, requires only that women in poverty programs be given the choice of maternity care or abortion. Since an abortion is about one-tenth the cost of seeing a pregnancy to term, abortion funding will not equal the cost of live deliveries.

Both Governor Gardner and Kristine Gebbie, director of the state Department of Health, have denounced the television ads.

Initiative 120's anti-choice opponents know Washington voters historically have supported abortion rights. In desperation, they're hiding behind falsehoods.