Much misinformation and many misleading arguments have been offered in the defense of “family planning” funds in the Texas state budget, and most notably, the funds given to America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.
The Truth about Planned Parenthood
Over the past few years, the scandals involving Planned Parenthood have increased and escalated as documented reports of the organization’s unfathomable actions have reached a growing audience. Undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees concealing the sexual abuse of minors, harboring the heinous crimes of sex traffickers, and knowingly committing abortions on women and young girls against their will who are being coerced by their boyfriends and parents have caused a growing outcry against the largest provider of abortion in Texas.
Funding such an organization with our tax-dollars is reprehensible. There is no excuse for an organization that engages in these abominable practices to be funded by our tax dollars, regardless of the other “services” they claim to provide. Planned Parenthood was recently forced to admit that they actually do not perform mammograms, one of the “clean services” many were led to believe for years Planned Parenthood offered.
The assertion that Planned Parenthood’s abortion services are strictly segregated from their other practices is intentionally misleading. Often, both family planning and abortion services are staffed by the same employees, share the same property, are led by the same board of directors, and operate under the same roof. While government grants are not directly paying for abortions, such public revenues indeed profit the controversial organization and free up funds that Planned Parenthood can invest in their promotion of abortion, their biggest money-maker. Clearly, the financing of one arm of the abortion giant keeps the other contentious arm in business. In this case, the left hand fully knows and supports what the right hand is doing.
The Truth about the Hyde Amendment
The 1976 Hyde Amendment, which many cite as proof that federal tax-payer funding of abortion is prohibited in the United States, has limited application. Funding streams for the abortion industry are through family planning grants from the federal government AND the city, county, and state governments. Additionally, ObamaCare has the potential to become a massive revenue stream for the abortion industry. Thus, many family planning revenue streams fall outside the jurisdiction of the Hyde Amendment. Consistent action is therefore needed on the state level to ensure that no tax-dollars finance the abortion industry.
The Truth about the Texas House Budget
After redirecting $61 million of family planning funds to other more worthy programs, the State House left $104 million in family planning to be in full compliance with federal law. Restoring funds to programs that suffered decreases or complete cuts, such as Autism services, the STAR program for at-risk youth, Early Childhood Intervention — to name a few, will not leave Texas women stranded without access to health care and birth control, as opponents of the reallocation have claimed.
Ample providers and clinics across the state that do not provide abortion or abortion-related services are available and equipped to provide family planning and more comprehensive services to women. These other providers are much more worthy recipients of the family planning program grants since they provide more legitimate health care services than the limited scope offered by Planned Parenthood.
Furthermore, other providers that offer comprehensive health services (e.g., Federally Qualified Health Clinics) do not have ulterior motives and do not profit from selling women abortion when family planning fails.
Lastly, these comprehensive clinics are open and ready for business across Texas. Regardless of where a woman resides, she will have plenty of access to her reproductive health care needs and even more through local health clinics. Yes, even in West Texas.
The Truth about Family Planning
All the money spent on family planning in years past equals upwards of $80 million per year in Texas. And still 81,851 women chose abortion in 2008, the last year for which stats are available. Within Medicaid alone, $60 million is spent on family planning and cannot be restricted or redirected at the state level. Despite the millions going to Medicaid family planning, the number of women on Medicaid who become pregnant continues to increase, not decrease.
While ideology cannot be ignored in this battle, this reallocation was not the first made in this year of dramatic budget cuts. Elected officials have made difficult decisions about what to fund and to what extent, and — even more challenging — what to cut and how much.
The family planning reallocations made by the State House of Representatives come at a time when Texans and other U.S. citizens are clamoring for fiscal responsibility and accountability; the State Senate should heed their cry.
Continuing to fund the abortion industry beleaguered by accounts of maiming women while it sidesteps state laws — laws fought for by the same lawmakers who ironically keep the industry funded, is neither fiscally responsible nor an appropriate way to spend taxpayer funds.