During the recently adjourned 2011 82nd Legislative Session, Texas Right to Life built the cornerstone by which the abortion industry suffered severe financial losses. Through amendments and riders to the state’s budget, $64.2 million was redirected away from family planning, which are revenue streams for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, dealing the abortion industry a 39% blow.
Elected officials recognize that abortion peddlers manipulate rules and exploit policy vagueness in Pro-Life laws, and consequently, our Pro-Life majority in the Texas State House embraced Texas Right to Life’s strategy to end the shell game of hiding and moving so-called family planning money around in these abortion clinics and their family planning affiliates.
As a result, agencies and organizations that are not sullied by affiliation with the abortion industry can now receive some of these remaining family planning funds because abortion agencies are no longer eligible to gobble up all the public funds in Texas. The budget cuts and restrictions will save countless lives since women can now seek and find medical care and support from organizations and health care agencies that offer a wide range of services and that do not specialize in selling abortion to Texan women and teens.
Texas Right to Life’s successful strategy to take tax-payer dollars out of the abortion industry is the largest such defunding victory in the nation and has the abortion industry in Texas on the run. Clinic closures due to the budget cuts could prove to be the most effective strategy in protecting pregnant women and their pre-born children.
Planned Parenthood Regroups due to Loss of Funds
Planned Parenthood operates thirteen affiliates through seventy-five family planning clinics across Texas. The budget cuts and restrictions take effect on September 1st of this year, but the abortion giant is already bracing for the huge financial hit. Desperate for ways to operate without the millions of our tax dollars, plans are underway to close Planned Parenthood clinics and merge affiliates.
Early last month, Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region in Austin and Planned Parenthood of Central Texas in Waco were planning to merge in an attempt to reduce operating costs. Planned Parenthood of Southeast Texas (Houston, where the largest abortion mill in the U.S. is located) changed its name to Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast so as to encompass Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta as well as the Planned Parenthood of Bryan, Texas.
Texas Right to Life recently confirmed that Planned Parenthood of North Texas is planning to close at least seven of their twenty-eight clinic locations because of the impending decrease in government funds. The CEO of the North Texas affiliate, Ken Lambrecht, specifically cited budget cuts from the 82nd Legislative Session as the catalyst for “restructuring” their services in North Texas. Planned Parenthood will be closing family planning clinics in Arlington, Gainesville, Mesquite, Plano, Sherman, Terrell, and Waxahachie.
Travis County Hospital District
Another Pro-Life victory from the 82nd Legislative Session was won by Representative Wayne Christian (R-Center) to stop local tax funds from being used for abortions in county hospital districts. Although the use of state funds for elective abortions is prohibited, Travis County Hospital District (dba “Central Health”) has abused an exception to the prohibition, spending $450,000 annually in local tax funds to pay for purely elective abortions. Representative Christian successfully amended Senate Bill 7 (from the Special Session) with a stipulation that a hospital district would lose any state funds if said hospital district funds abortions by this subversive accounting gimmick. The loss of funds would potentially include several million from Medicaid and Medicare programs.
In July, Texas Right to Life attended the Central Health Board of Directors Meeting during which a specific time was set to discuss all the new funding cuts and restrictions. In the discussion, at least two of the nine board members recommended full compliance with the SB 7 rule to completely stop Central Health’s payments for abortion and contracts with abortion providers. These two viewed the SB 7 provision as inescapable and openly suggested that the Hospital District redirect the $450,000 allocated for elective abortions to family planning services.
The rest of the board of directors did not explicitly respond to the concerns of the two who were clearly of the minority opinion. However, in further discussion, the other directors did confirm that the five organizations with which Central Health contracts for abortion and family planning services does include Planned Parenthood clinics, part of the largest abortion provider in the United States.
Although this meeting was open to the public, the board called a private, closed session to further review the new abortion and family planning funding restrictions enacted in the 82nd Legislative Session. Since Central Health is a government entity, their budget process and the decisions on the use of local tax funds must be transparent and released to the public in multiple documents. Travis County Hospital District/Central Health will not be able to continue their shell game for long. Texas Right to Life will be keeping a close eye on further developments and the ultimate decision from the Travis County Hospital District Board of Directors.
North Texas Planned Parenthood Clinic Closings:
Planned Parenthood Arlington North Clinic (August 31st)
1305 East Abram Street
Arlington, TX 76010
Planned Parenthood Gainesville Health Services (August 29th)
316 South Chestnut Street
Gainesville, TX 76240
Planned Parenthood Mesquite Health Services (September)
3220 Gus Thomason Road, #231
Mesquite, TX 75150
Planned Parenthood Plano Health Services (August 31st)
1400 Summit Avenue, #CA
Plano, TX 75074
Planned Parenthood Sherman Clinic (August)
2114 Texoma Parkway. Suite 700
Sherman, TX 75090
Planned Parenthood Terrell Health Services (September)
804 East Moore Avenue, Ste A
Terrell, TX 75160
Planned Parenthood Waxahachie Clinic (Closed in July)
507 North Highway 77, #508
Waxahachie, TX 75165
UPDATE: Last week the Board of Directors at Central Health (Travis County Hospital District) acquiesced to follow the new law passed as an amendment to SB 7 (Special Session) by Representative Wayne Christian. The decision comes after some contentious discussions and closed-door meetings of the board. The Christian amendment which stipulated that a hospital district would lose any state funds if said hospital district funds abortions by this subversive accounting gimmick. The loss of funds would potentially include several million from Medicaid and Medicare programs. In the face of the ultimatum to either stop paying for abortions or stop receiving any and all state funds (millions of dollars), the Central Health Board of Directors, despite their seeming abortion advocacy views, apparently understood the significance of this mandate and has redirected that $450,000 to family planning services at their three local clinics—an announcement made at the August 11th meeting.
LifeNews.com Note: John Seago is the legislative director for Texas Right to Life.