The End of Family Planning in Texas

They say they defunded Planned Parenthood. But lawmakers' attack on family planning will cost Texas money, reduce access to healthcare and result in even more abortions.

This year brought the sonogram bill, which, while mostly languishing in court, succeeded in reaffirming the 24-hour waiting period, unless a woman can show she lives more than 100 miles from her provider. It's a seemingly benign requirement, but it could pose problems for a woman who's trying to hide an abortion from an abusive partner, or who simply isn't able to arrange childcare, transportation and time off from work twice.

For all the political points these measures scored, it's lawmakers' new zeal for attacking the broader family-planning sector that has Texas healthcare providers fretting. Attempts to outlaw abortion were like rusty bullets from an antique musket — slow, lumbering and easy to see coming. More recent bills — the sonogram law, waiting periods, misleading materials — were closer to a shotgun blast, nicking away at access and understanding. Family planning funding cuts are looking more and more like a dirty bomb.

It isn't the first time lawmakers tried to divert family-planning funding. In 2003, lawmakers prohibited the federal funds from going to clinics or doctors "that perform elective abortion procedures" or contract with clinics that do. Several Planned Parenthood clinics and doctors sued the state, unsuccessfully. So Planned Parenthood formed separate surgical centers that only provided abortions and vasectomies, and don't get any federal money.

"It was an easy choice to cut out a family-planning organization like [Planned Parenthood]," said state Representative Leo Berman.
AP Images
"It was an easy choice to cut out a family-planning organization like [Planned Parenthood]," said state Representative Leo Berman.
Anna Merlan

"We're audited twice a year to make sure everything is kept separate," says Holly Morgan, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood North Texas. "We're legally and monetarily separate, with separate boards and separate bank accounts."

That separation would have been a huge victory for pro-life advocates — if federal money actually funded abortions. It doesn't. Federal funding hasn't paid for abortions since 1976. The family-planning funding program, signed into law by Richard Nixon in 1970, is designed to help provide lower-income families with affordable birth-control and other healthcare. Only one federal program, Medicaid, will pay for an abortion, and only in cases of rape, incest or life-endangering pregnancies.

In fact, the family-planning program — which in 2006, according to the Guttmacher Institute, distributed about $1.85 billion total — actually reduces the number of abortions women have, according to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. They estimate the services funded by family-planning dollars help prevent about 1.4 million unintended pregnancies nationally every year, nearly half of which would otherwise be terminated.

So how were lawmakers able to strip family-planning funding with so little opposition? Money. The state faced a massive shortfall this session, somewhere between $15 billion and $27 billion. Under pressure from the Tea Party and preparing for his presidential bid, Perry urged lawmakers to steer clear of the state's $9.4 billion emergency Rainy Day Fund and instead make around $15 billion in budget cuts. They did, focusing largely on education (cut by $4 billion) and health and human services ($11 billion). Family-planning money made up a large chunk of those health cuts.

Texas, like most states, receives three types of family-planning funding from the feds. The most important is Title X, which is earmarked for family-planning — contraception and preventive health services — and can't go anywhere else. Titles V and XX funding can fund any number of social services, but until this year, large portions were allocated for family planning.

The clinics that rely on the funding are especially crucial in Texas, where an estimated 35 percent of women of reproductive age are uninsured, compared with 22 percent nationally. In 2008, Title X-funded centers helped Texas women avoid 45,900 pregnancies, which would have led to 20,400 births and 19,200 abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a national nonprofit that studies sexual and reproductive health.

Yet despite decades of building the program, and its record of success, it took just a few amendments to dismantle much of the state's family-planning pipeline. Although Title X money can't legally be moved out of family planning, Title V and XX funding can be. That's exactly what Republican lawmakers did. Representative Randy Weber of Pearland filed an amendment that moved more than $8 million to anti-abortion and abstinence programs, as well as crisis pregnancy centers. Christian moved $6.6 million to autism programs. Dwayne Bohac, from Houston, moved $14 million to mental health services for children. Jim Murphy, also from Houston, moved $143,000 to EMS and trauma care. Sid Miller, Stephenville, moved $18 million to early childhood services and $3 million to what he called "other non-Medicaid services." About $1.8 million went to a fund for the deaf, blind and multiply disabled per an amendment by Representative Bill Zedler of Arlington, and Representative Jodie Laubenberg sent another $9 million to the STAR program for at-risk youth.

The lawmakers made it clear that their priority was to hurt Planned Parenthood. In making his amendment, Zedler announced to his colleagues that he was doing so to "defund the abortion industry." Separately, Miller said, "I think we're trying to shut down abortions in Texas and doing that through cutting off the purse strings." Meanwhile, a separate bill by Warren Chisum, a Republican from Pampa, expanded a 2005 rider that dictates how the funding should be distributed. It now goes first to state- or locally run public health clinics, then to private "full-service" health clinics. Whatever's left goes to clinics that provide family-planning and women's healthcare.

"These cuts have hit everybody," says Fran Hagerty, CEO of the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPA), a coalition of providers who treat around 800,000 low-income women. "There is not one provider out there — whether it's a public clinic, Parkland Hospital, or a tiny little community action agency — that this has not affected."

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49 comments
Whitman1
Whitman1

Once again we're leading the charge into the 13th century.

Bizzaro Galore
Bizzaro Galore

First a quote "Let's lynch the landlord". We put these idiots in office, next time around let's take them out. Why can't the public be allowed to impeach these people for not acting in our best interests? Why I ask you!?

seasincarnadine
seasincarnadine

I agree that abstinence COULD solve this problem if practiced by everyone. However, contrary to popular notion, no society has ever achieved. In the same sense, if all people were willing to contribute to a common good regardless of personal gain, communism COULD have succeeded. The problem is, you have to construct laws that adapt to the realities of society and humanity, not just laws that would work in a utopian protestant society. Review the statistics between college students that received sexual education and use birth control and prophylactics versus those that depend wholly on abstinence. The latter fall into dire straights. They aren't ignorant, or stupid, or immoral. They are just human, and in that they fail to abstain. Two of the underpinnings of conservative politics is the end of the welfare state and the reduction of crime. Cut off access to birth control, expand the population below the poverty line, and see what happens to welfare and crime.

Dianex02
Dianex02

You are totally missing the point here....Teenagers need to be educated on abstinence, not comprehensive sex education like Planned Parenthood promotes due to the high risk of STDs they can contract...why destory your health at a very young age with STD's....Planned Parenthood is not about wellness....

Catbird
Catbird

What a complete mess. Sodom and Gomorrah seems like a Menonite retirement community compared to the sexual practices that have become the norm in polite society here in the US. And the Good Lord only knows the suffering that the women and the little children, both natural born and pre-born, are enduring because of it.

It seems to me that the mothers of the women who are being convinced to submit to lifestyle abortions should be talking some sense to their daughters before they hop into bed with a serial impregnator and end up with their feet in the abortioninst's stirups.

Young Man: Is your gratification the only thing you care about?

Young Woman: Is no fault fornication really worth all this pain?

All of us: Is the foetus really not a person? As a former foetus myself, I find a direct connection to be irrifutable.

Mothers: Will you not regret this for the rest of your life?

Lord help us all.

seasincarnadine
seasincarnadine

Read freakonomics....there is a chapter regarding the connection between lack of family planning, and eventual skyrocketing of crime...Why? If a mother thinks she is not emotionally or financially fit to have a child, she is probably right. The stats for that child are not usually encouraging. Limit access to the pill and see how this state looks in 20 years.

Cmduck
Cmduck

Well there is a lot left out of this article. Do you think you might check on some other data. I don't disagree with the points made, I just think things are missing. One large missing element is the lack of reporting child abuse and rape of a minor. When a 15 year old has a baby, there is someone responsible. With just a few questions it is possible to find out who is the father and who was the first sexual partner and when. Often times the first partner is 10-20 years older, but that rarely is investigated and the preditors just continue because it is never reported. I wonder why.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

xavez101...well, keep your knees together, and don't date jerks. you make the choices AS A WOMAN...they guy is a sperm donor if he has NO RELATIONSHIP to the woman other than sex...and the woman who puts out free and wanton sex is the one who CREATED the problem.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

I think maybe the State Government is trying to get out of the SEX business and let INDIVIDUALS be responsible for what they do that creates unwanted babies. Maybe it will take several generations of terrible problems for girls, women, and guys to learn that there are consequences to sexual acts, and if they get the consequences, rather than a free and quick disposal process...just MAYBE the CAUSE will get cured instead of making it EASIER to have unwanted pregnancies. Anyone with a rape or incest pregnancy is ABLE to get an abortion...and if those things caused the pregnancy, the LAW needs to be INTIMATELY involved with prosecuting the PERPETRATOR severely.

Abortion clinics are a temporary solution to a BIG underlying social PROBLEM....

Kathryn Labruyere
Kathryn Labruyere

Indigent patients can take their Medicaid to any other medical clinic that accepts Medicaid. Women don't need Planned Parenthood or specialized family planning clinics. http://youtu.be/UqLL-v0JpY0

Pecos_Drifter
Pecos_Drifter

Plenty of money in this world Anna, seems to me if you really believed in this you use your bully pulpit(granted, few really read the Dallas Observer as print is dying, manly from poor writing) , gather up enough rich folk which Texas and the rest of the USA has and find the funding privately and there's your abortion palace........

You have more power than anyone of us posting here, seems to me a lot of people are dying for a abortion(so that pleases the left wingers), there is money in it(that pleases the right wingers), heck they can name it the Anna's "Grip um and rip um" Abortion parlor, think of how the D.O. can benefit, along with all the "Escort" advertising revenue already coming in the a new revenue stream keeps the lights on at the D.O.........you can do it Anna since your parents didn't elected to abort you, so I expect action not words, it's all there for the taking...maybe the Rangers will let you throw out the ceremonial fetus at the opening day next year....it's gold Anna.....gold

Halldecker
Halldecker

I've never gotten any pol to focus on what our world would be like if we HAD the 55million roaming the streets, people who were so unwanted they were aborted.

As a secret liberal told me, "Nobody ever has, and I'm damn sure not gonna be the first!"

Lo Bar
Lo Bar

this is what u get when lawmakers play god...i say this wholeheartedly: when one of ur own gets pregnant due to horrible circumstances,,,what will u say then,,tough shit girl? handle it,,, i think not...somehow u'll call the doc u have on the side and take care of it,,,,maybe then u'll relize what a fool u were to pass such a STUPID law...Texas lawmakers suck!

Colliebirds
Colliebirds

It astonishes me that people believe they have ANY say in what is already a wrenching decision for a woman. Forcing a woman to carry something She does not want within her body for nine months is a form of imprisonment with cruel and unusual treatment.At a pregnancy center in Florida the youngest client was 12. She had been repeatedly raped by her father. Add the lifelong mental damage caused by the incestous rapes and add the confusion, terror, and agony the girl will suffer during pregnancy and birth and you create a permanently damaged child. And with the percentage of birth defects increasing sharply with each year younger the birth mother, you virtually guarantee a life of misery and dependance for the child. Many such people who live with pain and torment support the right to die. By enforcing your will, you ruin so many lives. And you don't care. As long as you get what you want.By the way, watch how many politicians quickly flop if public opinion swings to pro-choice.

Cody
Cody

People who don't support abortion are not all "anti-choice". That's like saying that people who support abortion are anti-life.

Ending a life without that life's consent/choice isn't right. Please remove your political blinders from the discussion.

Eam0061
Eam0061

Has Leo Berman even seen a vagina in the last 20 years?

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

Look, in order for conservatives to live in a world where they can feel superior to someone else, there has to be an "underclass". What better way to make sure there is always a sufficient number of folks to look down their nose upon than to eliminate the ability of the "underclass" to manage their reproductive lives?

After all, if they were worthy and deserving of comprehensive health-care, Jesus surely would have made sure they were wealthy enough to purchase a quiet, discreet abortion from that *hush hush* Highland Park OBGYN that'll take care of it for you "all nice and quiet like" and still greet you as a "Friend in The Lord" at Prestonwood on Sunday morning.

Karl
Karl

Completely sympathetic with the plight of women seeking family planning and health services due to the zealots in DC and Austin. De-funding PP will, in the end as the article says, result in more abortions.

That being said, PP's use of statistics is misleading and makes it seem they're trying to hide something. This "97% of services" meme (as in 97% of services are not for abortion) needs to go away. 97% of services do not involve abortion if one considers each birth control perscription, condom hand-out, doctor visit as a service. But read PP's own report. Look at the number of people (women) who use their services in a year and look at the number of abortions in a year. On that basis, about 30% of their clients obtain abortions in a year. PP should own up to it and not try to hide behind a meaningless statistic like "97%".

Sonni
Sonni

There is a big difference between abortion and death penalty. Babies in the womb are innocent of any crime and people who murder FORFEIT their right to live. Yea there are some who are innocent who are put to death but that's just our lovely judicial system for you. Even in incest and rape, its not the the child fault! (omg no she didnt). If there were a crate full of puppies and a newly pregnant lady and I chose to kill the puppies instead of the baby people would be in an uproar about me killing the puppies and a lot of you would think its ok to kill the unborn baby if the woman "chooses" to do so. That's not the way it should be people. I'm just sayin...

gloria
gloria

These Pro-lifers have just kicked the abortion down the road. It reappears later on in life which the state now calls (as humane): THE DEATH PENALTY! Where are these insane Pro-lifers when the injection starts at the prisons.

Catbird
Catbird

Why not educate teenagers on the high art of poetic courtship, the private excitement of nuanced romance, honor, commitment, the primacy of the marriage bed, the love and wealth of children, family and the final joy of creating a legacy home for your progeny? These are the things that are squandered with a culture of fornication and sacrificed to abortionist's table along with the "unwanted" child. Without that sort of positive counterbalance, the logic of abstinence will be lost on this generation. Sorry...

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So I guess Josh that you have not had any dates in a real long time. I know one for you --- how about John Bobbitt’s ex wife? She and you would make a handsome couple and she would know how to handle you.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

So then, Cody, which are you? Are you anti-choice or anti-life? Also, what is your position on our current wars around the globe and all of the folks that didn't get a choice in whether they would be shot at or bombed by "Reaper" drones.

Just curios.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

CRETIN STATEMENT...IGNORANT TROLL...GO BACK TO MIDDLE SCHOOL AND FINISH THE 8TH GRADE EAM0061

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

He looks like a mummy to me. Dead from the head up. You too Joshua.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

VICTIM ALERT, JEALOUSY FOR THE BETTER OFF, MORE EDUCATED IN ACTION....HEY...I AM NOT SUPERIOR TO MANY, BUT I LOOK DOWN MY NOSE AT mynameisURL...as an ignorant troll

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

ABSTINENCE OUR OF MARRIAGE, AND FATHER RESPONSIBILITY WILL CUT DOWN ON A LOT MORE ABORTIONS.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So Sonni how many children have you adopted? None I bet. Most anti choice are more pro birth than pro life in that once the child is born they turn their backs on them. Some one else’s child. and their problem. There is only a hand full of people who I will even listen to who object to a woman’s choice regarding HER pregnancy-they are those who have adopted not one but several unwanted children into their household. While I do not agree with them I must confess that at least they are not HYPOCRITS like the majority of anti choice.

Cody
Cody

Isn't it awful that they're putting the life of a defenseless child in front of the convenience of an adult?

How dare them!

:I

blueelm
blueelm

Or... why not teach them something that works instead of all the things that have never worked in the past... for years and years and years.

Blahblah
Blahblah

The problem inherent with a "solution" (if I'm permitted to severely misappropriate the word) such as the one you propose, is that these truths are wholly self-evident to even the basest of these incessantly propagating Neanderthals. They are already utterly convinced that having a child will fortify their flimsy relationships -- which it doesn't always. Teenagers' eyes are veiled as it is with romance and faulty convictions; they don't need it spelled out for them.

The logic of abstinence is not lost to anyone: the will to practice it is. Simple accidents and even wanton fornication were not newly introduced by this or any other generation. They have simply *been*, since we first discovered for what purpose our genitalia were designed.

Does that make abortion okay? Of course not. Abortion is not okay -- and I doubt even the doctors who perform them would qualify the operation as "okay." But it is possible -- and it does give a person (a living, thinking, breathing person) another opportunity to make amends -- to correct their life until they feel they are ready to support a child, build a family, and nurture a proper legacy.

Cody
Cody

Curious.

I'm personally anti-abortion. Per my previous post, I'm not "anti-choice" or "anti-life". By your logic you would be anti-choice if you support laws against stealing, killing, etc. because the laws have taken away an individual's "choice" to do whatever they want.

My point is that there isn't "pro-choice" or "pro-life" because pro-choice supporters support life in general, and pro-life supporters support choice in general.

Regarding this issue, you're either for abortion or against it.

I obviously don't support innocent lives lost by way of drones, murders, terrorism...or abortion. The lives of innocent babies take priority over the convenience of adults.

As my original post suggested, please remove political blinders or you'll continue to label and stereotype people however the media tells you to.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So another example of anyone who disagrees with Joshua being a troll. You are an busy body who can't keep his nose out of affairs that you have no business in. Go back to Afghanistan and the Taliban.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

THE WOMAN'S CHOICE WAS WHETHER OR NOT TO KEEP HER KNEES TOGETHER, MISTER MEAN....AFTERWARDS, SHE GETS TO OWN THE CONSEQUENCES....IF SHE WAS RAPED, THE LAW STEPS IN, AND SHE CAN ABORT THE RAPE FETUS....THE CHOICE WAS HERS IN THE FIRST PLACE.....ALL PREGNANT WOMEN ARE NOT VICTIMS.

I DON'T THINK THERE WERE 55 MILLION RAPES AND INCEST PREGNANCIES IN THE USA...BUT THAT IS THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS....YOU DO THE MATH....VICTIMIZATION IS AN EXCUSE OF THE MASSES.

Nerak318
Nerak318

I agree with you. So you take a women, who through stupidity, laziness, age, immaturity,drunken drugged state of mind, whatever; say she gets pregnant like a dumb ass. So, she decides she can't raise a baby, she's not even smart enough to not get pregnant, so she decides to end the pregnancy, only she can't, there's not an option for her. So she is stuck being preganant. Pre-natal vitamins and regular doctor visits? Please, those cost a lot of money. So, she's stuck-no insurance, no chance but to ride this pregnancy out. 9 months later, she is burdened with an infant. Maybe she wants her party time back, maybe she has to work, maybe she suffers post partum depression,-anywho, so who is looking out for this baby? And don't be so naive to think she has a support network, seriously folks, have you read the news. Abused, neglected babies, boyfriend of mom kills baby,etc. The majority of these kids end up in horrible situations. And where are those God-fearing, Pro-life folks that forced this mom into the "conditions" of her situation? It's sad that these kids face abortion after birth. Slow and abusive.

Nikki
Nikki

Really? They're putting the life of a defenseless child in front of the convenience of an adult?

It's really convenient to be raped and find out you're pregnant from it. I got lucky... I miscarried.

So what other programs are they instituting for the child? I don't see the adoption system being reformed, or any child welfare programs being submitted... So obviously, FORCING a female to have a child they can't care for is much more humane. It's much better to force females to carry children that may kill them due to medical conditions. It's much better to force females to carry children that they can't care for, that later end up dead from neglect, or in the prison system.

I'm sorry, maybe I've missed the convenience part of this... I've never known an abortion, which is a life changing, soul shattering decision that rational women have to make, to be a convenience.

Catbird
Catbird

Then there isn't a problem.

Different strokes for different folks.

We should all just mind our own garden. Everyerything's good in my family. No one getting abortions here. Everyone's happily married with kids, houses, careers...all good Church-going folks so why worry?

I hoped for a change and now it's all good.

True?

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

CAUSE THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT, LOBAR....YOU BREAK IT, YOU BOUGHT IT. YOU WANT THE KIDS, ADOPT THEM YOURSELF. Taxpayers and citizens do not responsibility in ANY way for a woman having a pregnancy unless they were the SPERM donor. Get that clear....NONE.

Lo Bar
Lo Bar

Cody,,,and all pendejos like u....i don't see or hear all u pro-lifers lining up to adopt all the kids that r available here in texas,,,,,what up???

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So you have not adopted ANY children to support your beliefs against abortion. You don't like sex education in the schools you don't want contraceptives used either you just want to shove your beliefs down others throats so that you can claim that you are going heaven on others backs. You have NO concept of what issues that the woman in question must go through in HER pregnancy but YOU think that YOU know what’s best for us all. I really hate those who in most cases can not run their own lives and think that they should get some practice sticking their noses in other's business and trying to make choices that they will have to live with. Perhaps you would be happier in one of those middle eastern countries where the women are forced be clad in burkas

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I bet that comment about "SHE GETS TO OWN THE CONSEQUENCES" make you feel real good JOSHUA. You seem really self righteous piece of work to me..

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So where are you when those news reports about some child being beaten to death by their step father or the mother's boy friend. I guess that that is her responsibly too. After all you (and your ilk) are only pro birth and once the child is born it they get to OWN THE CONSQUENCES and you are absolved.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I think that your posting paint you as a cretin Joshua. Ah yes a real pro life comment like telling her to commit suicide too. I bet that makes you feel close to God.

smarterthanmistermean
smarterthanmistermean

WELL, SINCE SHE IS SUCH A CRETIN, HER PARENTS CAN RAISE THE CHILD LIKE THEY RAISED HER...OR SHE CAN JUST COMMIT SUICIDE AND SOLVE HER OWN PROBLEM WHILE PREVENTING HER STUPIDITY FROM MAKING MORE POOR CHOICES. HEY....WHEN DO PEOPLE OLD ENOUGH TO GET PREGNANT START TAKING CHARGE OF THEIR OWN LIVES....IF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ARE THE CAUSE....EXCUSE ME...BUT NOT ONLY IS IT NOT SOCIETIES PROBLEM, BUT THE CHILD WILL LIKELY BE DAMAGED TOO....AND THIS PERSON GETS TO WALK FREE AND DO IT AGAIN.....NOT ON MY NICKLE AND NOT WITH MY PERSONAL PERMISSION.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I would not discount the lack of sex education (which the anti choice people are in favor of too) and the albescence only ideology that they seem to preach. It seems to me that those who are anti choice are just plain messed up in terms of sex in general.

John
John

So let's just get all the stupid, lazy, young, immature women who drink and or do drugs, round them up, and get their tubes tied. That would prevent any sort of unplanned pregnancy. It's a false logical argument to say that because I do not support abortion, I must adopt a baby. The world needs more personal accountability. You don't want a child - keep your legs closed.

And yes - I do make exceptions in the cases of rape and incest, and grave danger to the mother.

JOSHUA
JOSHUA

SOMEHOW....ALL RAPED WOMEN THAT GET PREGNANT SEEM TO HAVE HAD NOTHING AT ALL TO WHERE THEY WERE, WHAT THEY WERE DOING, AND WHY UNTIL SUDDENLY THEY DISCOVERED THEY WERE "RAPED"......55 MILLION WOMEN DID NOT GET "RAPED" SWEETIE...BUT THEY PROBABLY TOLD THE ABORTIONIST THAT THEY DID....UNWILLING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RIDING THE SNAKE ON THEIR OWN VOLITION.

 
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