In an encouraging act of leadership by Texas officials, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission removed Planned Parenthood from an additional part of the 2016 Texas budget. Officials from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) declined to renew Planned Parenthood’s contracts in the HIV Prevention Program effective January 1, 2016.
The HIV Prevention Program is federally sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but individual states dispense the funds at their own discretion. DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen noted that his department maintains the prerogative to fund Planned Parenthood and “elected not to do so in this case.”
Since 2012, Texas Right to Life has urged leaders in the Texas Legislature and Executive Branch to stop funding to Planned Parenthood. Even after the great steps toward defunding taken in 2011, the abortion giant was still receiving taxpayer dollars in several specific state-sponsored programs in Texas. While some apathetic Republicans’ stranglehold on Pro-Life legislation in the House hindered new efforts to plug funding loopholes in the state budget, Texas Right to Life applauds DSHS for this decision.
DSHS’s decision to act on the already existing general Legislative Intent in the budget is encouraging in light of egregious legal violations committed by Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates over the last several years, in addition to what appear to be admissions of illegal activity by a former recipient of substantial HIV Prevention Program Funds: Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. In a September video released by the Center for Medical Progress, PPGC research director Melissa Farrell admitted that the affiliate had been engaged in the sale of baby body parts for “many years,” and that abortionists there routinely “alter their process” in order to produce high-value “intact fetal cadavers.” Until now, PPGC has received over half a million ($600,000) in federal HIV Prevention Program funding.
In late 2015, another Executive office, the Inspector General, also informed Planned Parenthood that they have disqualified themselves from participation in the Texas Medicaid Program by committing acts of Medicaid fraud and revealing prima facie evidence of felonious activity in September’s CMP footage. And during the 2015 Legislative Session, the Texas Senate led the defunding effort with their decisive action to remove Planned Parenthood from the DSHS-sponsored Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, redirecting funding to screenings centers that were unaffiliated with abortion.
The announcement comes just weeks after Planned Parenthood launched a campaign trumpeting their belief that nondisclosure of HIV-infected status to sexual partners is a “human right.” This philosophy is consistent with Planned Parenthood’s posture towards human Life: convenience is the priority and the well-being of others (whether those be sexual partners, preborn children, or anyone else) does not merit any form of humane consideration. Their troubling advocacy for the nondisclosure of HIV-infected status underscores the fact that an abortion business is not primarily concerned with public health and safety and should not be receiving taxpayer dollars.
The president and CEO of PPGC, Melaney Linton, called the rescinding of funds to Planned Parenthood “devastating,” and the affiliate has announced that the business will no longer provide HIV screenings in the wake of the news. This admission flies in the face of Planned Parenthood’s hallmark soundbite that they provide “care, no matter what.” Apparently, Planned Parenthood will actually only provide “care, as long as our bottom line and profit margin are not affected by extenuating circumstances.” Linton takes home a plush six-figure salary.
The positive step of removing Planned Parenthood from the HIV Prevention Program is just one more example of how genuine Pro-Life Texans are committed to work around an anti-Life White House and lukewarm Republicans in the State House to effect Pro-Life progress on our own.