Texas Money for Pregnancy Centers Closes Planned Parenthood Office

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 3, 2005

Pharr, TX (LifeNews.com) — When Texas lawmakers made the decision to withdraw state taxpayer funding form Planned Parenthood offices around the state through the family planning program, they may not have known how soon it would have an impact. Officials at the nation’s largest abortion business say they are shutting down one south Texas office and may close others.

Citing a $200,000 funding cut to its Hidalgo County chapter, Planned Parenthood closed it’s clinic this week in Pharr, Texas a suburb of McAllen.

The closing comes just months after Texas officials decided to shift $2.5 million from the Department of State Health Services’ family planning budget, which normally went to Planned Parenthood, to crisis pregnancy centers that provide pregnant women help and resources.

The decision pleased pro-life advocates because the pregnancy centers often abortion alternatives while Planned Parenthood routinely refers pregnant women to abortion facilities.

Kathryn Hearn, community services director for Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood, told the McAllen Monitor newspaper that some Planned Parenthood customers will go to five area Planned Parenthood offices. However, not all of those will remain open because of the budget cuts.

Dade Phelan, spokesman for State Senator Bobby Williams, a Woodlands Republican who moved the budget cuts through the state legislature, said the money is better spent at the pregnancy centers.

"There has always been plenty of money for family planning, but there’s nothing that addresses alternative to abortion programs," he told the Monitor. "This is for women who are trying to decide whether or not to have a baby, and this will give an alternative to abortion. It’s giving them more choice."

Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood received roughly 70 percent of its funding from the state of Texas and the $200,000 cuts represent the loss only for the first four months of the year. That means other Planned Parenthood offices will likely close, and soon.

"There could be more closings, but we’re doing everything possible, so that doesn’t happen," Hearn told the Monitor.