During the first meeting of the House Appropriations Committee (Monday, February 4), abortion champ Representative Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) wasted no time airing her grievances at the successful Pro-Life measures taken in 2011 to remove funds from the abortion industry.
Dukes consistently opposes any measures to protect pregnant women and their unborn children, even voting against informed consent prior to an abortion and parental involvement in an abortion decision of their pregnant daughter. Dukes was especially enraged by Texas Right to Life’s 2011 winning strategy to reallocate $64.3 million of family planning money to less controversial health care programs that serve a broader population. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, she is hawking the abortion industry revenue streams in hopes of restoring the funds.
Dukes hurled question after question to newly appointed Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner, Dr. Kyle Janek (a former legislator), who appeared before the committee today to review the entire HHS budget for Texas. Dr. Janek simply and calmly responded that the proposed budget accurately reflects what the legislature authorized the Commission to do with its highly coveted health care dollars.
Commissioner Janek discussed the state Medicaid programs. Representative Dukes inquired about the loss of federal funding for the Women’s Health Program, which is now a state-funded program, and, as such, subject only to state rules enacted by the legislature. Dukes accused Dr. Janek of incorrectly implementing rules passed by the Legislature in 2011 (rules written by Texas Right to Life) and blathered about alleged gaps in patient care under the new program administered by the state.
Although Commissioner Janek responded in full to each accusation and question, Dukes was unrelenting, demanding that Commissioner Janek restore family planning funds—a step that he is not authorized to take without legislative approval. Dukes confirmed that she wants the family planning money restored (13 Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics have closed as a result of Texas Right to Life’s 2011 budget plan) and insisted that Dr. Janek usurp his authority by finding a way to add abortion affiliates back into the new state budget.
This flavor of venom is frequently spewed by Representative Dukes and her pro-abortion colleagues, but even Texas Right to Life was surprised that she unleashed her fury on the first day of House Budget hearings. These committee hearings and back-room deals must be watched vigilantly, which is why Texas Right to Life maintains a full-time staff of six in Austin throughout the 140 days of each legislative session.
The hearing ended after the committee and Dr. Janek considered the funding streams for other health care programs. Texas Right to Life has identified additional funds in the state’s budget bill going to abortion providers, and legislators are already working to redirect those funds to clean programs and agencies. We eagerly await Representative Dukes’ response to this next step in defunding the abortion industry.