In the most recent development that is the sage of the state of women's healthcare in Texas, Federal family planning money, instead of being given to the State of Texas, will now be given to an Austin-based consortium of statewide reproductive health providers, the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT).
As the Austin Chronicle reported earlier this week, The Texas Department of State Health Services used to be in charge of these Title X funds that are now being diverted, and before the 2011 legislative cuts used to serve around 244,000 low-income, uninsured women. After the cuts were made just 75,160 women in Texas received services in 2012.
WHFPT CEO Fran Hagerty hopes to change those numbers, with the news now that $6.5 million of federal Title X money is coming her way. This is great news for women's healthcare in Texas, but sadly this news also reflects the ongoing war Rick Perry has had with the federal government, at the expense of needy Texans.
The Department of State Health Services had it's family planning budget cut by two-thirds in the 2011 Legislature despite the fact that there are more than million women in Texas who needs these healthcare services. As Hagery told the Chronicle, “No one is going to be excluded based on any political consideration,” and “when you're not beholden to the Legislature, or to politicians calling you and saying, 'do this, do that' when you don't have anything else to consider, it's pretty simple: getting women served.”
Jordan Smith at the Austin Chronicle put it best saying, “Indeed, under her (Hagerty's) group's application for funding, money would be allocated based only on the ability to efficiently serve as many women as possible – a strategy that the state seems to have abandoned.”
Yet, despite drastic state cuts and losing millions of federal dollars because of it, the Texas Legislature isn't done attacking women's healthcare, not by a long shot.
Bills this session are making their way through the lege that practically regulate away abortion in Texas altogether. Check out what bills to watch below the jump. HB 2816 by Representative Cindy Burkett, which creates even more restrictions on abortion in Texas. This bill was left pending the House State Affairs Committee yesterday.
SB 25 by Senator Hegar and Senator Donna Campbell, which effectively bans abortion after 20 weeks, this bill has been referred to Senate State Affairs with no hearing date set, yet.
SB 97 by Senator Dan Patrick, which regulates what doctors can do once they prescribe abortion related drugs, which has passed the Health and Human Services Committee with a 6-3 vote.
SB 537 by Senator Deuell which is on the intent calendar for the Senate floor this Tuesday. This is the bill that has the potential to close most of the operating abortion clinics in the State of Texas.