This week the campaign for Republican Congressional candidate Randy Weber held its first Women for Weber event, so its appropriate to highlight some of his record on woman's health.
The event was billed as an opportunity to:
[Hear] Randy discuss his plans to get women in small business working again and share his experience in the Texas House where he passed landmark legislation in human trafficking and fought to balance the budget.
Having worked on legislation that helps to end human trafficking is laudable, but it does not excuse a record of proudly cutting funds for and access to woman's healthcare. When fighting to balance the budget means slashing the two-year family planning budget from $111 million to $38 million and cutting the Medicaid Woman's Health Program by $35 million, you earn the title as “bearer of the flag in the war against women.” While Weber touts his success in the battle against Planned Parenthood, real Texas woman suffer. In March of this year the New York Times published an article in which a mother of 5 spoke about losing access to breast cancer screenings, birth control pills and other routine health exams after the cuts shutdown low income clinics. The state's non-partisan Legislative Budget Board estimated 284,000 woman would lose access to health care costing Medicaid about $230 million. The board's recommendation was to actually expand the program to save money.
Weber proudly co-authored Texas' controversial “trans-vaginal sonograms”. Women who chose to have an abortion must now undergo a non-voluntary trans-vaginal probe and sign an affidavit stating the doctor attempted to find a heart beat and describe any visible human extremities of the fetus. The new law was described by Rep. Alvarado (D-Houston) as, “government intrusion at its best.” Weber also sponsored an Amendment that would take $7.3 million from family planning, and divert it to a program focused on abortion alternatives. Its unclear how diverting the money from preventative care would actually decrease the number of abortions, since its indisputable that only women who can get pregnant have abortions. During debate Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) asked Weber if he thought birth control didn't work, his answer, “Not for those who get pregnant”. When asked if he used contraceptives himself Weber responded, “I don't think I know you well enough to go down this road”. Of course, though he has chosen to go down this road with Texas women.
By law Planned Parenthood can not use tax dollars to fund abortion clinics or even services within clinics that offer the procedure. According to its website “95% of what Planned Parenthood health centers offer are preventive services that help our communities stay healthy.” They test clients for STDs, provide convenient birth control, do adoption referrals and conduct other important treatments. This year alone Planned Parenthood of Central Texas will conduct 31,000 breast cancer screenings and educate about 14,000 teens and parents on preventing teen pregnancy. Even still, Randy Weber and the Republican Party tout fighting Planned Parenthood as its major legislative accomplishment on woman's issues. Texas woman are Independent and prefer to make their own choices about health care and its wise to remember – without choice there is no freedom.