Lawmakers in the state of Texas are finally beginning to realize that the cuts they made to the budget for family planning services will very likely hurt them far more than they had originally realized. And now that they realize it’s going to cost more money, the rush to restore the funding is ensure that the low income women who would have had access to affordable health care is restored is overwhelming.
The fight to restore family-planning financing that was cut from the Texas budget in the last legislative session has taken a turn toward primary care. Republican state senators have proposed adding $100 million to a state-run primary care program specifically for women’s health services, an effort that could help avoid a political fight over subsidizing specialty family-planning clinics.
Never mind that the “specialty family planning clinics” do a lot more than just provide condoms and abortions … both of which are perfectly legal, by the way. About 2/3 of the services provided are non-family planning related.
“It’s a much better way to treat the women because they don’t just have family-planning issues,” said Senator Robert Deuell, Republican of Greenville, a family physician who has advocated an increase in primary-care services for women.
I’m an advocate of increased primary care services for low income women too. Who wouldn’t be? But the issue is deeper than that: it’s the pathological obsession with closing down Planned Parenthood in order to send the message that even though abortion is legal, it’s wrong and has no place in the state of Texas. Furthermore, anyone associated with the practice shall be punished as if that is the sum and total of their services.
Using taxpayer dollars to finance family-planning services has become politically thorny in Texas, largely because of Republican lawmakers’ assertions that the women’s health clinics providing that care are affiliated with abortion providers. In the fiscal crunch of 2011, the Legislature cut the state’s family-planning budget by two-thirds, with some lawmakers claiming that they were defunding the “abortion industry.” Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, found that more than 50 family-planning clinics had closed statewide as a result.
Yeah … especially in rural, low income areas. Do you have any idea how devastating that is? (Please read the article in that link … it’s very good, if heartbreaking.)
Now, amid estimates that the cuts could lead to 24,000 additional 2014-15 births at a cost to taxpayers of $273 million, lawmakers are seeking a way to restore financing without ruffling feathers.
You guys slay me. “Without ruffling feathers” you say. Whose feathers? Certainly none of you gave a rat’s ass about “ruffling the feathers” of the thousands of low-income women and their families who were adversely affected by having their only source of affordable health care and birth control taken away. But hey, they usually vote Democratic and they don’t buy your election, so you can do whatever the hell you want to them and it doesn’t matter much, does it?
I guess I should count my blessings that Texas even acknowledges the relationship between contraception and the prevention of unplanned pregnancies, since the revisionist history and creationist lunacy they propose for our nation’s school textbooks on a yearly basis is the stuff of legends. The fact that they’re willing to go so far as to allow any sort of family planning methods that have been developed during the last 100 years should be considered progress. The downside is that they’re still unwilling to give any money to any group affiliated with abortion … even if it’s a small percentage of their overall services.
“The goal has always been to keep the funds out of the abortion industry,” said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. She hopes the expanded primary-care program will serve a broader population but said Texas Right to Life was “still investigating the participating providers to ensure none are affiliated with abortion providers.”
Yet I hold little hope that this realization will carry over to any future decisions since this reversal wasn’t about women; it was about money. The same inconvenient cause-and-effect thing is happening with abstinence only “education”, in which states with strong fact-free programs that lie to their children about sexual activity, the efficacy of condoms (if they’re mentioned at all), the “harm” of homosexuality happen to be the same ones with very high teen pregnancy and STI rates. It’s a shame that teens and low-income citizens of the Bible Belt have to suffer the
ignorance religious values of those who supposedly represent them.