It’s official in Texas, as Governor Rick Perry, a pro-life Republican, on Monday ceremonially signed SB 7, a health care measure containing language that would revoke the taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
“This will defund Planned Parenthood, stop taxpayer funding of elective abortions, and regulate adult stem cell research in Texas,” says Texas Alliance for Life.
The passage of the measure came after a legislative setback, when the Texas House of Representatives could not hold session because there was not a quorum. Legislators in the House were supposed to consider Senate Bill 7, a bill that, if passed, will defund Planned Parenthood of $34 million or more over the next two years.
Senate Bill 7, authored by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton), has three significant pro-life provisions strongly supported by Texas Alliance for Life and leading pro-life organizations and individuals.
The first defunds Planned Parenthood of $34 million or more. Another provision, by Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), prevents local tax funding for elective abortions by hospital districts, including Travis County’s Central Health. The third, by Rep. Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon), allows the state to regulate autologous adult stem cell banks and encourage more live-saving treatments using adult, not embryonic, stem cells.
Jonathan Saenz, legislative director for Liberty Institute, which supported SB 7 at the Texas Capitol, too, also applauded the vote and says the bill “effectively ends taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood in Texas.
“The passing of this legislation is a defining moment in Texas history for the pro-life and taxpayer protection movement,” he said. “Texas leaders have sent a clear message: Planned Parenthood and similar abortion groups can no longer use taxpayer funds to support their agenda.”
Texas Right to Life is also strongly supportive of the Planned Parenthood de-funding effort and worked to close a loophole in SB 7 that would have required Texas taxpayers to fund the abortion of unborn children who suffer fetal abnormalities or who suffer from conditions “incompatible with life.”
“The most evil, filthy organization in America, Planned Parenthood, might actually have to close,” says Jim Graham, director of the group.
“State and federal dollars should go to health care providers who do not provide or refer for abortion,” he said. “While the amount of funds allocated to family planning has steadily increased over the years, 81,851 women in Texas still chose abortion in 2008, the last year for which data is available. Our tax dollars should not go to the abortion industry under the guise of family planning.”
About the loophole, Elizabeth Graham said, “Texas Right to Life opposed this broad and dangerous provision of SB 7, since this could have been precedent-setting if passed into law. SB 7 is one of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s major health care savings bills, and we took the issue directly to him. As expected, he responded accordingly and bought us the much-needed time to close the loophole on taxpayer funding of the abortion of disabled, unborn Texans.”
The state budget allocated $166,030,952 to family planning. Estimates are that Planned Parenthood currently receives approximately $30 million a year in tax-payer funds in Texas, and its own annual report confirms $363 million received nationwide. More than 300 non-abortion agencies across the state qualify to provide family planning services and they do not do abortions or refer for them.
Very recently, Attorney General Greg Abbott released opinions ruling that the state’s Health and Human Services Commission could adopt rules for this program, and more importantly, that adopting rules does not conflict with federal Medicaid rules. By its own admission, Planned Parenthood (PP) serves almost half of the clients enrolled in the WHP, receiving tax dollars through Medicaid reimbursements for each client served.
The conference report came after Texas House members voted to urge the Senate to agree to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Central Texas closed two of its centers earlier this year.
In other states, Indiana approved a law de-funding Planned Parenthood, and New Hampshire Planned Parenthood centers may close after the state revoked a $1.8 million grant. Montana Planned Parenthood is also grappling with funding cuts and one county in Tennessee de-funded Planned Parenthood.
North Carolina may see the closing of a Planned Parenthood center following de-funding and Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin is making cuts after the abortion business lost $1 million in taxpayer funding there. Ohio lawmakers also filed a new bill to shift funding from Planned Parenthood to health departments.
ACTION: Thank Governor Perry at http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/