Yesterday state leaders in women's health met at the Capitol to discuss some of the proactive measures being taken to remedy the reactive and damaging cuts to women's health during the 2011 82nd Legislative Session.
Representative Mary González is one of the leaders currently making crucial efforts to improve the quality of healthcare for women, in particularly young mothers. She also announced yesterday that she filed three bills all relating to giving women greater access to quality health care.
HB 2160 gives greater access to contraceptive care for young mothers, HB 2161 allows young mothers to enroll in the Texas Women's Health Program so they can receive access to life-saving health screenings and other necessary reproductive health services, and HB 2178 allows young women to enroll in Texas CHIP, the state's health insurance program.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, one dollar invested into family planning saves the state $3.74. Investing in family planning saves taxpayers in the long-run. I believe all women should have access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information about responsible pregnancy and disease prevention. In a state with the highest repeat teen pregnancy rate, we have yet to accomplish this. In order for the young women of Texas to invest in their futures and the futures of their children, we need to invest in them.
These bills represent a huge stride for women all across the state. Just last session Texas lawmakers made the sonogram bill the law of the land, demoralizing doctors and women all in one nightmare of a bill, but with young representatives like Rep. González, and general common sense being discussed more and more, there might be hope for some Texas women still.
“We're facing a women's health care crisis in Texas. Texas leaders are now recognizing the detrimental effects cuts to family planning services bring. The investment in services necessary for young mothers in Texas has not happened. HB 2161 will allow for young mothers to qualify for necessary reproductive health services,” stated González.
You can watch the press conference here and listen to some the women who have been adversely affected by the drastic cuts the legislature made last session to women's healthcare.