Texas Sends Bill Banning Cities from Partnering with Planned Parenthood to Governor

Protesters rally against the GOP health care plan, on Capitol Hill, July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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The Texas State Senate voted 20-11 Friday to approve a House amendment to a bill that would ban state, county, and local governments from contracting or partnering with Planned Parenthood for any services.

The bill now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Texas Tribune reported on the House amendment to Senate Bill 22:

The bill would prohibit the transfer of money to an abortion provider — but it would also bar the transfer of goods, services or anything that offers the provider “something of value derived from state or local tax revenue.” Abortion opponents worry that any money directed to abortion providers could be used to promote the organization in other important ways, like to finance advertisements or open a new clinic. They criticized Planned Parenthood’s $1-per-year rental agreement with the city for its East Austin clinic, which they’ve railed against as an unfair “sweetheart rent deal.”

“This bill just prevents taxpayer dollars from being used to support or prop up abortion providers,” said State Sen. Donna Campbell, the Republican author of the bill.

The House amendment to the bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Jonathan Strickland, who sought to clarify that the legislation would not block a city or county from banning abortions.

Democrat State Sen. José Rodríguez said the bill would cause lack of access to HIV tests, cancer screenings, contraceptives, and other health care provided by Planned Parenthood.

Texas lawmakers, however, have increased funding for state-run healthcare programs such as Healthy Texas Women, which provides free or low-cost family planning services. Supporters of the legislation are seeking to divert women away from abortion clinics and their affiliates for health care and toward the state-run alternatives.

The Texas House passed another bill Thursday, 84-67, that would penalize abortionists who fail to provide medical care to infants who are born alive following a failed abortion. That measure is also headed to the governor’s desk.

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