Thank you for responding to the call to speak against the proposal for taxpayer funded lobbying for Planned Parenthood in Harris County. The Commissioners Court of Harris County (Houston) met to consider a number of budget items and matters for which their taxpayer-funded lobbyist will advocate in Austin. The Democrat commissioners and the presiding judge of the commissioners court were not pleased that Pro-Lifers like you attended with Texas Right to Life and dialed back the aggressive agenda, which initially included a line item for preserved state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Former State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) now serves as a county commissioner and admitted to Texas Right to Life Director Elizabeth Graham during her testimony that his staff placed Planned Parenthood funding on the agenda. Ellis said that he would withdraw the proposal as he didn’t want the debate to be drawn out on abortion, but rather wanted to talk about funding for women’s health services. Graham assured the court that increased funds were in the state budget for the Healthy Texas Women program, a program that serves a diverse base of clients with a wide spectrum of services and is not associated with abortion or abortion affiliates. Graham pointed out that over 2,800 service providers were available to women under Healthy Texas Women in Fiscal Year 2017 in all 11 health regions, thereby negating the need for any funding for abortion providers or their affiliates.
The commissioners court would be wasting time on taxpayer funded lobbying for Planned Parenthood, as Graham noted, because Pro-Lifers like you are aggressively pursuing a state law prohibiting municipalities from contracting with abortion providers and their affiliates.
Other faithful friends of the Pro-Life cause spoke before the commissioners court too, including Gary M., Jacob K., Susie D., Terri Leo, and Texas Right to Life Associate Jackson Milton. Jackson informed the court that although their intent was to promote women’s health, giving state funds to the abortion business allows Planned Parenthood to devote more of their own funds to abortion. With that in mind, Gary highlighted the somber statistics of abortion, noting that more than 1,000 abortions are committed per week. Susie shared her heart-wrenching experience of going into labor on February 12, 1991 (the same calendar day as the commissioners court hearing) and losing the life of her unborn son at 20 weeks. Jacob, a Texan with a disability himself, explained the prejudice behind abortion and urged the court to avoid contracting with an organization that promotes and profits from killing unborn children with disabilities. Terri, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, noted the fiscal irresponsibility of using public funds to lobby for a multimillion dollar abortion business.
While most of the commissioners responded favorably to Pro-Lifers’ testimony, the county judge who presides over the commissioners court, Lina Hidalgo, announced that she planned to revisit this matter with an emphasis on “choice.”
Thank you. The court definitely changed their tone and backtracked their announced agenda once advocates like you fought back. Their plan now is to consider separate legislative issues in separate work, smaller work groups on Friday afternoons, rather than in the full commissioners court proceedings. Texas Right to Life will keep you posted on when you are needed at the work groups to make your voice heard about protecting you, the taxpayers, from subsidizing abortion through local taxing entities.
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