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Family planning loses two-thirds of funding after budget amendments

by Published on

UPDATED April 5, 12:00 P.M.

The Texas House approved seven budget amendments today that will cut two-thirds of funding for family planning services in the next biennium. That’s about $61 million that providers won’t be getting. Around $40 million is still left in the budget for family planning.

The amendments, filed by House Republicans, diverted the family planning money to services for autistic, blind and mentally ill children. The idea was to leave Democrats, almost all of whom are pro-choice, with a tough vote. Some Democrats voted against the amendments outright while others, refusing to choose between family planning and needy children, opted to register “present not voting.” 

The Department of State Health Services distributes family planning money to clinics for birth control, Pap smears and health screenings for low-income women. 

House Democrats argued that providing family planning services saves the state money by preventing unplanned pregnancies and providing women with wellness exams.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said the DSHS distributes family planning money through the Women’s Health Program. It actually distributes this money through federal grants. The Women’s Health Program is a different program and is funded separately.

Alexa Garcia-Ditta is an Observer reporter (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access across the Lone Star State. Before joining the Observer, she was a staff news writer at the San Antonio Current. She holds an MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and BA in journalism and Spanish from UT-Arlington, where she worked for three years on her college newspaper. After graduate school, she dipped her toe in public policy communications at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. When she's not at work, she's probably training for her next marathon.