House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Article II: Why Pro-Life Texans Should Pay Attention

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The title “House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II” does not exactly scream, “Hey, Pro-Lifers, pay attention to me!” However, the subcommittee does in fact deserve our attention.

In the Texas Legislature, each chamber has a committee tasked with compiling the first draft of the state’s budget for the next two years – the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.  The House committee is further broken down to better manage the vast state programs and services Texas taxpayers fund.

The House Subcommittee on Article II is the main designation in the state’s budget where Pro-Lifers have to focus to keep taxpayer dollars from flowing to the abortion industry.

In 2011, Texas Right to Life spearheaded the successful, four-pronged effort to remove $64 million from the abortion industry’s coffers. This strategy also disqualified abortion providers and their affiliates from several state health programs. The tactic ensured women’s healthcare dollars went to actual health centers that provide the full spectrum of health services, not just birth control and elective abortions. 

Another part of the approach Texas Right to Life took was in adopting rules that kicked abortion providers like Planned Parenthood out of the Women’s Health Program (WHP).  Since then, the state has created a clean WHP while expanding true services for Texas women.  You can listen to first-hand accounts by Texas legislators on the successful strategies here.

However, as usual, these Pro-Life victories are under attack.  Earlier this week, Texas Right to Life was monitoring the Article II subcommittee hearings and witnessed Rep. Sarah Davis (R – West University Place) and Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D – Austin)* waste no time in publically lamenting the elimination of abortion facilities from receiving certain state funds.

During testimony, one witness from the Health and Human Services Commission noted the agency’s desire to expand health services for women. In response, Rep. Davis essentially argued that the “important providers” were the ones eliminated in 2011 (a.k.a. abortion facilities, including Planned Parenthood). Even though, as Davis admitted, these providers do not offer the range of services presently a prerequisite to receiving state funds.

Davis opined:  

“I have some concerns, obviously, when we talk about we're going to expand benefits, which of- or services, which sounds great, but at the same time that also likely means that were going to decrease providers. Because some very important providers that create the safety net for the women's health program and family planning are not equipped to meet some of these services requirements that the expanded primary care for women program encapsulates. So I think we need to be very cautious when we talk about this because I'm not going to fall for 'Oh we just expanded services,’ knowing full well what we're really doing is, is reducing providers.”

Listen here: http://tlchouse.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=37&clip_id=9727  Beginning at the 2:41:00 mark.

For what do Pro-Life Texans need to watch? Buzzwords. We must be cautious of conversations that attempt to “reinstate women's health care funding or providers.” Which, in and of itself, sounds harmless; however, these words usually mean “give back to the abortion industry Texas taxpayers dollars.” Pro-Life Texans have spoken and readily assert that tax dollars should be used and allocated to clean healthprograms for Texas women, not for strengthening the abortion industry. These facilities center their business model around freely deceiving the public as bastions for women’s health while, in reality, they are just selling and pushing their abortion agenda on Texans. They do not deserve one cent of Texas tax dollars.

We’re watching.

 

*Both Rep. Sarah Davis and Rep. Dawnna Dukes have been endorsed and supported by Planned Parenthood in their reelections.

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