The Texas State budget is of great importance to Pro-Life Texans. Texans who value the Life of preborn babies do not want, and should not be expected, to fund abortion organizations and those that promote abortion with their tax dollars. Under normal circumstances, Texas Right to Life pays close attention to the state budget and the committees charged with writing how Texas tax dollars will be used. However, with the recent appointment of an openly pro-abortion Republican to oversee the health and human services section of the budget, the Texas Right to Life team has been scrutinizing the budget-writers’ every move.
Every two years, Texas is required by the state constitution to balance and pass a budget. In fact, passing a budget is the only action the Texas Legislature is required to do in the 140-day Session. Each Session, Texas Right to Life fights to ensure our money is not being used to fund abortion enterprises. The committees tasked with writing and appropriating state funds to various state entities are the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Because the budget averages about 1000 pages, the task is behemoth and many legislators work to piece together a coherent document that shows the state’s good stewardship of state tax dollars. Under the Appropriations Committee are sub committees that oversee the various state agencies and how funds will be disbursed.
Article II of the state budget appropriates state funds for various health divisions (i.e. the Department of Aging and Disability Services, Department of Family and Protective Services, Department of State Health Services, and the Health and Human Services Commission). From these funding streams, Texas Right to Life was able to identify and remove $62 million from abortion organizations, adopt strict funding rules, and increase funding to the Alternatives to Abortion program.
This legislative session, Pro-Life Texans must be even more diligent in watching potential funding of the abortion industry due to the person tapped to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II, State Representative Sarah Davis (R-West University Place). Davis is the only Republican who is openly anti-Life and endorsed by Planned Parenthood.
Appointed to chair the subcommittee on Article II by Speaker Joe Straus, not only does Representative Davis have an abysmal record on Pro-Life issues, she also scores poorly on all fiscal indexes. In fact, last Session Davis passed an amendment in the same subcommittee to undo Pro-Life language the Senate had written to ensure that Planned Parenthood did not receive state funding through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. Such a record clearly indicates she is not the best Republican, out of 94 Republican members, to be chairing a committee tasked with overseeing Texas tax dollars.
Last week’s meeting in the Article II subcommittee showed a glimpse into Davis’ intent to secure funding for additional pet projects undermining the Pro-Life values of Texans. After testimony from a doctor praised the family planning program in Texas, Rep. Davis asked the witness about an exaggerated study attempting to blame Texas’ maternal mortality and morbidity rate (MMR) on the state’s efforts to stop state funds from going to Planned Parenthood. The study and Representative Davis’ position, seek to correlate decreased taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood to the study’s alleged maternal death rate.
The MMR study has been shown to be flawed in many aspects, including failing to take into account that states and countries throughout the world do not have a standard reporting apparatus. The MMR study also failed to parse how many maternal deaths, defined as death within one year of giving birth, were attributed to heart disease, drug use, and hypertension – the three leading causes of death for Texas women. However, such facts do not fit neatly into the abortion left’s deceptive talking points.
Davis’ interest and reliance on such a misplaced “study” further shows Texans she is bent on restoring taxpayer funding of the abortion industry in Texas.
For a Republican-dominated chamber, such a situation is indeed troubling and unnecessary.
Texas Right to Life will continue serve Pro-Life taxpayers in Texas by watching Rep. Davis closely, as she will most likely continue to subvert Texans and their desire to keep their tax dollars away from the abortion business and the entities that support them.