Texas: Hospitals Can’t Get Tax Funds if They Do Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 8, 2011   |   7:42PM   |   Austin, TX

Texas House members gave initial approval to an amendment to a Senate bill and it would make it so hospital districts that do abortions in the state would not qualify for receiving state taxpayer funds.

“Senate Bill 7 passed with the pro-life provisions in place,” Texas Alliance for Life director Joe Pojman explained. “Two good amendments were also added: one by Rep. Zedler (R-Arlington) relating to more detailed reporting of information relating to abortions and one by Rep. Christian (R-Nacogdoches) to prevent tax funding for abortions by hospital districts. This was the preliminary vote in the House, the final vote in the House will be tomorrow.”

Rep. Wayne Christian floated the hospital amendment, which also targets contracts with the Planned Parenthood abortion business or other abortion businesses and says hospital districts would lose state funding if they “contract or affiliate with other organizations, agencies or entities that provide or refer for abortion or abortion-related services.”

State House members approved the budget amendment 100-37 after Democrats attempted to use a procedural motion to block consideration of it. The Dallas Morning news indicates Democratic Reps. Guillen, T. King, Lozano, Martinez, Munoz and Pickett were the only ones to join Republicans supporting it.

The amendment would only allow hospitals to receive state taxpayer funding if they agree to only do abortions in very rare cases to avoid death or serious injury to the pregnant woman supposedly caused by the pregnancy. The newspaper indicates tax dollars can only go to the hospital district in those abortion cases if the abortion practitioner files a statement about the medical emergency in the patient’s file with the state health department.

The Texas legislature, unable to complete its work on the state budget, was forced to accept the call from Governor Rick Perry to enter into a special legislative session to complete its work. Pojman said one state legislator has filed a measure that will pick up on the ongoing debate over whether to cancel state taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

“The Legislature failed to fully defund Planned Parenthood during the regular session,” he said. “Gov. Perry has called a special session so we have another chance to defund Planned Parenthood.”

“Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) has filed Senate Bill 7 to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for all family planning funds. Please call your state senator and urge him to support this bill,” Pojman added.

Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick reintroduced his bill that would limit the RU 486 abortion drug. The mifepristone abortion pill has already killed dozens of women worldwide, including several women in the United States, and has injured 1,100 women in the U.S. alone as of 2006 FDA figures.

The original measure, HB 3408 and SB 1780, was inspired by model legislation developed by Americans United for Life and sponsored by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg and Sen. Dan Patrick. It would regulate the dispensing of abortion inducing drugs and would require that they can only be dispensed in accordance with the FDA drug label. The bill would further require that a licensed physician must do a physical examination of the woman before prescribing the sometimes-deadly drugs.

The initial bill would make violating the law a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine, and allowed for civil remedies for women injured by abortion practitioners under the law. The new bill, SB 21, does not include the penalties but allows the Texas Medical Board to take disciplinary action against abortion practitioners.

SB 1790 that passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee during the regular legislative session.