Texas Senate Approves Bill to Ban State and Local Funding of Abortion Providers

Members of the 'Planned Parenthood' women's rights group protest against the 'Stupak Ammendment' which they say will ban private abortion coverage for millions of American women, outside the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles on November 20, 2009. Rights advocates have accused the most pro-choice US government in decades of throwing …
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DR. SUSAN BERRY

The Texas Senate voted Monday to prohibit state and local governments from allowing tax dollars to fund abortion providers.

“I think taxpayers’ dollars should not be used for abortion facilities or their affiliates,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, reported The Eagle.

Campbell authored Senate Bill 22, legislation that would bar state and local governments from affiliating with abortion providers, even if their contract is unrelated to direct abortion services.

The bill passed an initial vote, 20-11, with one Democrat – state Sen. Eddie Lucio – joining with Republicans to support the measure.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick expressed support for the bill.

“There is nothing more important than defending the defenseless,” he said in a statement. “Senate Bill 22, authored by Sen. Campbell, will continue Texas’ commitment to defend the most vulnerable in our society and preserve the sanctity of life.”

The legislation would put an end to “sweetheart rent deals,” such as one Planned Parenthood facility’s rental agreement with the city of Austin for $1 per year, even though that particular clinic does not provide abortions.

“I wanna make sure we get this concept straight,” state Sen. Royce West, a Democrat, said, according to ABC affiliate KVUE. “The State is telling local cities, local taxpayers, what they can and cannot spend their money on when we pass this bill, is that correct?”

“If the local government is using taxpayer dollars for any type of contract with an abortion provider or affiliate, yes, this bill prohibits that transaction,” Campbell replied, pointing to Planned Parenthood’s contract with Austin, since 1979, to rent a building for $1 per year with a 20-year extension.

“While they may not be doing abortions here, those dollars can still pass through to prop up the abortion industry, so this bill does inhibit local municipalities from contracting with an abortion facility,” Sen. Campbell said.

Campbell also shot down an attempt by Democrat state Sen. Jose Rodriguez to add an amendment to the bill that would allow an exception for contracting with Planned Parenthood for public health emergencies such as Zika virus outbreaks and those related to HIV and STDs.

Meanwhile, the Texas House State Affairs committee heard testimony on the House’s version of the bill – House Bill 1929– introduced in that chamber by state Rep. Candy Noble.

“This bill seeks to protect Texans from being forced to pay for abortions with their tax dollars,” Noble said at the hearing, reported Daily Texan Online.

Noble continued:

While measures have passed in each of the last several legislative sessions to prevent state funds from going to the abortion industry, the existing prohibitions do not impact transactions made by political subdivisions of every level of government. HB 1929 will prohibit tax dollars at both the state and local levels from being used to fund abortion providers and their affiliates.

Planned Parenthood condemned the bill, accusing Republicans of attacking local control.

“What we saw at the Capitol today is legislators putting politics before the health and rights of their constituents,” said Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. “In the state with the highest uninsured rate in the country, where access to women’s health care has already been decimated by politicians, local governmental entities should be making every resource available to the community — not eliminating them.”

However, Melanie Salazar, president of Students for Life at University of Texas-San Antonio, testified in support of the bill, stating the taxpayer funds should be redirected to other community health centers that are not affiliated with abortion providers.

“I would want the state of Texas to reallocate the money to federally qualified health centers and or pregnancy resource centers that offer women real choices, that empower women to choose life,” Salazar said. “I believe that empowered women empower women to choose life, and that is what I want as a woman, as a minority, as a young college student who is targeted by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.”

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