by Steven Ertelt
May 18, 2006
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The Texas State Health Department has reallocated more than $5 million in taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood abortion centers and other facilities that were denied the funds under a new law that sent family planning money to pregnancy centers. Abortion advocates cheered the decision.
Planned Parenthood lost the funding after the Texas legislature approved shifting family planning funds from pro-abortion agencies like Planned Parenthood to pregnancy centers that help women.
Lawmakers crafted the rules for applying for the grants in such a way that those agencies that also perform or refer for abortions were not eligible.
But state health department officials reallocated funds to Planned Parenthood and other agencies that don’t do abortions but lost the money when it was shifted to pregnancy centers.
Claudia Stravato, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle, cheered the decision and told the Houston Chronicle that the law that originally denied the money to the abortion center was "sick public health policy" and "pathetic."
Stravato said the reallocation of funds proved the new law didn’t work.
Margaret Mendez, the health department’s director of community health services, told the Chronicle that the reallocation of funds was twice as large as the reallocation last year. She said some new family panning provided under the new law couldn’t spend the money quickly enough and returned $1.4 million of it to the state.
Sen. Robert Deuell, a Republican, sponsored the law, which required $20 million to go to new facilities for the family planning services rather than sending money to Planned Parenthood, because it does abortions.
But some of the new agencies weren’t prepared, according to news reports, to take on the non-abortion family planning services Planned Parenthood also did.
Deuell’s spokesman Todd Gallah told the Houston paper he had no comment on the reallocation.
Stravato’s abortion business received $184,000 in additional funding under the reallocation. A Dallas area hospital received more than $1 million.
Under the original law, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network received $5 million in family planning dollars from the state government. There was no word on whether the pregnancy centers returned any of the family planning money that went to Planned Parenthood or if the funds came from other agencies.
The pregnancy center network is working in conduction with the Pennsylvania-based Real Alternatives and The Heidi Group of Round Rock and with the Texas Association of Women’s Resource Organizations.