Texas Legislature Proposes $41 Million in Support for Pregnant Women Instead of Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 23, 2019   |   5:29PM   |   Austin, TX

Texas is investing in the lives of mothers and babies.

The state Alternatives to Abortion program provides free support to pregnant and parenting mothers and their young children. This summer, lawmakers are considering a $41 million boost in the program budget to support more mothers who choose life for their unborn babies, The Texas Tribune reports.

In a recent letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, 80 Republican state lawmakers praised the successes of the program and urged the commission to expand funding to the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, the largest provider within the program, according to the report.

The network of pro-life pregnancy centers provides free counseling, job training and material support such as diapers, car seats and infant formula to mothers and children up to age 3, the report states.

Here’s more from the report:

Texas Pregnancy Care Network has done such a good job connecting expectant and adoptive parents with counseling and other services, the lawmakers wrote, that the health commission should increase payments to the provider without considering offers from other potential contractors.

The intent of the Texas Legislature, they wrote, is to “continue to support the current program contractors.”

“The Legislature would not have made the increase in appropriations had we not believed the Program was already extremely successful,” reads the letter, which The Texas Tribune obtained under open records law.

John McNamara, executive director of the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, said the lengthy bidding process has kept them from serving more mothers and children. He said it took his nonprofit nine months into a two-year contract period to receive any funding.

He said additional funding will mean more nonprofits can join the program and provide life-affirming support to families in need.

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“There is a tremendous need for help, support and education for pregnant women and young families,” said Andy Schoonover, executive director of Austin LifeCare, one of the pregnancy centers that receives funding.

He said they saw a 21-percent growth in the demand for their services in 2019 alone.

The Texas Alternatives to Abortion program is a network of pregnancy centers, maternity homes and adoption agencies that provide much-needed material support, counseling and other resources for women and babies.

In 2018, it helped about 37,000 women and children. Lawmakers set aside $38 million for the program in the current state budget, according to the report. The additional $41 million mentioned in the Texas Tribune is just a proposal at this point; state lawmakers have not voted on a new budget yet.

In the past several years, Texas lawmakers have been working hard to cut off funding to abortion groups and increase support for pregnant and parenting families.

Ironically, pro-abortion Democrats, who often wrongly accuse pro-lifers of not supporting children outside the womb, blasted pro-life lawmakers for increasing funding to the Alternatives to Abortion program during budget negotiations in 2017.

Liberal news outlets like the Texas Tribune continue to criticize the program as well, ignoring how it is providing much-needed support to mothers and children throughout the state.

The program provided free assistance to more than 131,000 women between 2006 and 2015. Its providers offer free maternity and baby clothing, food and furniture, temporary shelter, referrals to community agencies and medical resources, as well as pregnancy and parenting classes, job skill training, mentoring, adoption information and more.

In 2017, Texas Right to Life said the program is underfunded, and a number of qualified providers were on a waiting list to enter the program.