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October 21, 2017
Proposed Texas budget would defund abortion providers
Credit: American Life League via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).
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.- The Texas House passed a budget on Friday that strips Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers of funding through any state program.

“Rather than chasing, kind of reactively, after Planned Parenthood, this is a comprehensive budget policy and ethic that pro-life Texans don’t want to subsidize abortion providers,” Emily Horne, legislative associate with Texas Right to Life, explained to CNA.

The budget proposal, passed by the Texas House and Senate, now moves to a joint conference committee which will be made up of members of both chambers. They will then finalize the budget.

Texas Right to Life has warned that although the budget has passed both chambers with pro-life provisions, those provisions could be removed by the committee, and so they will be fighting to ensure the provisions stay intact.

Although past efforts were successful to block funding of abortion providers in certain state health programs, there were still funds going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers through community assistance and HIV screening programs, Horne said.

She compared the funding to a “whack-a-mole game” where if abortion providers were defunded in one state program, another source of funding would be intact. So the wording in the budget is broad, to “apply this logic and ethic to the whole budget,” she said.

The budget proposal also increases funding for the “Alternatives to Abortion” program by $20 million – a “huge increasing in funding” that was “very needed,” Horne said.

The program provides resources, hotlines, and referrals to pregnancy centers for expectant mothers, but also funds adoption agencies and maternal health providers – basically “funding all the alternatives” to abortion, Horne said.

There are also parenting classes offered under the program, and 10 hours of these classes would be required for mothers to receive certain assistance like diapers and formula, Horne said. The program also provides career development for working mothers, such as interview prep and resume-building classes.

It’s the “social side of trying to support women,” she said.

The U.S. Congress has also worked to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding – mostly from Medicaid reimbursements and Title X family planning grants.

The U.S. House has voted to defund Planned Parenthood, after undercover videos surfaced in 2015 showing doctors and officials discussing prices for fetal tissue from aborted babies with actors posing as prospective tissue harvesters. The House has also voted to let states choose not to fund Planned Parenthood through disbursement of Title X funds.

Defunding of Planned Parenthood was also included in the American Health Care Act, the recent health care bill that failed to make it to the House floor for a vote.