Tuesday, the Texas capitol was the meeting place for a small cohort of abortion activists. Representing radical anti-Life groups including the Lilith Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Jane’s Due Process, and other usual suspects of the abortion lobby, the groups had a new message. Not only did the activists make the usual cries for abortion “access,” they also demanded that legislators should support abortion fundraising. The anti-Life lobby is so determined to abort babies that they are willing to give money to anyone who chooses an elective abortion.
Activists sported horrifying shirts with giant white hearts filled with the word “Abortion” in black lettering. In these offensive outfits, activists stormed the capitol halls with the message that everyone has a “right” to abortion for any reason—and other people should pay for those abortions. The day was spearheaded by the extreme abortion groups Lilith Fund and Texas Equal Access Fund, two organizations that pay part of the cost of women’s abortions through private donations.
So-called “abortion funds” currently operate through private donations from anti-Life activists (e.g. the women in abortion heart shirts), but the agenda they brought to the capitol sought to impose their abortion fundraising on all Texans. The agenda items include demands that Texas taxpayers pay for abortions directly through Medicaid. Under current law, Medicaid funds are barred from paying for abortions, except in extremely rare exceptions (though, if Planned Parenthood receives funds for non-abortion health services, those fungible tax dollars do pay indirectly for abortions).
In another agenda item, the abortion groups want Texans to pay for the expenses of pregnant women traveling for an elective abortion. While we can be confident that such extreme measures as overhauling Pro-Life protections in Medicaid and paying for abortion travel expenses would not pass in our Pro-Life state, the fact that abortion groups have been emboldened to suggest such a coercive anti-Life platform is shocking.
Sadly, the abortion fundraising extremists also suggest the legislators should end the Alternatives to Abortion program (A2A). They repeat the lies that A2A is a program of “unregulated crisis pregnancy centers that coerce, manipulate, and lie to Texans.” Far from unregulated, the adoption agencies, maternity homes, and pregnancy centers in the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TCPN) face a stringent vetting process to become qualified providers. All providers serve their clients free of charge. Further evidence of the success of the program is the tremendous honor TPCN received from the Standards for Excellence Institute. In 2009, the institute awarded TPCN the Seal of Excellence for achieving the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations. TPCN is the first nonprofit organization in Texas to receive the recognition, and TPCN was recertified with the Seal of Excellence in 2014.
There is tragic irony in the abortion fundraising day call to end funding to A2A. Although the abortion activists cite many stories of pregnant women in difficult circumstances, a reality that is undeniable, the only response they have is the death of an innocent child. Texas legislators have funded and will continue to fund A2A, because they recognize that in difficult circumstances, the pregnancy is not the crisis, other circumstances are. Texas has made great strides in ensuring that women have access to comprehensive health care through the Healthy Texas Women program and resources to make the best decisions for their families. Texas legislators have achieved this great progress without forcing Pro-Life Texans to pay for abortions. While the anti-Life advocacy day carried the banner, “Texas abortion funds build power,” the reality is that abortion is disempowering. In the face of such extremism, Pro-Lifers should say with all the more clarity that women do not have to kill their preborn children to achieve their dreams. A Pro-Life culture offers real empowerment.