The state of Texas does a terrible job of providing sex education to its teenage residents. Ninety-four percent of the state's school districts, according to the Texas Freedom Network, only educate kids about sex by telling them not to have it. Arguments against sex are often built around religious notions of purity and creating fear of sexually transmitted infections. The state's primary mechanism for not telling kids about sex is the Abstinence Education Program (AEP), which gives sex education grant money to organizations that agree to only dole out sex education about not having sex.
Funding from that program is given out by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Newly appointed Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor just, remarkably, made the AEP even worse.
According to the HHSC's new request for proposals for the $3 million in state money to be paid out through this year's AEP, any entity with even the barest tangential connection to abortion, you know, the places a teen who might need information about not having sex might go, is ineligible to receive any money.
Anyone wanting the money must verify that they:
1. Will not perform elective abortion procedures, shall neither contract with nor provide funds to any individual or entity for the performance of elective abortions, and shall submit no claims to DSHS for reimbursement of direct or indirect costs (including overhead, rent, phones and utilities) for abortion procedures.
2. Will not affiliate with any entity that performs elective abortion procedures or any elective abortion provider affiliate at any time during the term of this contract.
3. Serve as a legally separate entity from any abortion-service provider and will have no legal relationship with an abortion services provider, which relationship is created or governed by at least one written instrument that demonstrates: (a) common ownership, management or control; (b) a franchise; or (c) the granting or extension of a license or other agreement that authorizes the affiliate to use the other entity’s brand name, trademark, service mark or other registered identification mark. The “written instrument” referenced above may include a certification of formation, a franchise agreement, standards of affiliation, bylaws or a license.
4. Entity name may not include or be similar to the name of any abortion-services provider, affiliate or any entity that engages in pro-abortion advocacy.
5. Will not contract with or transfer any funds, through gift or payment, to an abortion-services provider or affiliate. Will not share any expenses or costs (including overhead, rent, phones, equipment and utilities) with an abortion-service provider or affiliate.
6. Will not share any employees or members of its governing body with an abortion-services provider or affiliate.
7. Will not be located at the same physical location or within 1,000 feet of an abortion-services provider or affiliate.
8. Will not display or use the names or trademarks of any abortion-services provider or affiliate; will not advocate in favor of abortion services; will not recommend abortion as an option for pregnant women.
Even being within three football fields of a Planned Parenthood cuts you off from getting state money to tell kids not to have sex, as would having a similar name. With the change, Texas has now restricted both cancer screening and its own abstinence-only education program because it is obsessed with appearing tough on a medical procedure that has been legally available for more than 40 years.
“We see a clear legislative directive of shifting state resources away from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers,” agency spokesman Bryan Black told the Texas Tribune . “This recent [request for proposals] is a reflection of that policy."
The change in policy is just the latest blow in the state's obsessive campaign against Planned Parenthood. The baseless, manipulated video-inspired investigations initiated by Attorney General Ken Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott into the health provider are ongoing. The investigations haven't revealed any new information, nor have any of the similar investigations conducted in other states.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.