courtesy of Patrick Michels THE 80″ LEGISLATURE: BLOOD ON THE FLOOR The U.S. Supreme Court requires that judicial bypass cases be confidential and anonymous, Pojman says, and identifying judges wasn’t the intent. The information collected could be used to direct policy, he says, like reporting appellate court decisions to give guidance to lower courts. “It’s a pretty serious thing to suspend parent’s rights,” he says. “We’ve got to have some accountability for those courts?’ The bill’s supporters also say the abortion datawhich would have included the father’s age, the reason for the abortion, and who paid for itwould be used to direct public policy. Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, says the bill’s sponsors never clarified what kind of policy change would result. “That was left wide open,” Farrar says. “They wouldn’t give an affirmative, ‘Yes, I’ll vote for more [Children’s Health Insurance Program] funding?… As long as the same people who are voting to limit access to abortion continue to make cuts to CHIP, to public education, immunization programs, on and on, all these things that we’re 49th and 50th in the nation inas long as they continue to do that, I think women will continue to make the decisions that they don’t want them to make?’ Both bills became ensnarled in speaker politics. SB 785 died on a point of order after Rep. Jim Dunnam, a Waco Democrat, accused Craddick of pushing the bill through in exchange for pro-life support of his speakership. SB 920 was pulled from the calendar by its House sponsor, San Antonio Republican Rep. Frank Corte, when he realized opponents were going to drag out the calendar until midnight to prevent it from being considered. Given the adjournment deadline, SB 920 could have been the death of dozens of bills behind it on the calendar. Corte’s policy adviser, Kathi Seay, says the votes were probably there to pass pro-life legislation, so opponents needed parliamentary maneuvers to kill both measures. “That’s why pro-choice people did everything they could to make sure that nothing came to a vote,” she says. Funding for women’s health and family planning services other than abortionoften an innocent victim in past fights over the issuecame out of this session unscathed, but no ground lost in previous sessions was regained. Last session, the biennial budget cut $25 million in federal funds for family planning contractors like Planned Parenthood. The contractors provide basic health care services for low-income women, such as gynecological exams, breast cancer screenings, contraception and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. A 2005 rider by Sen. Tommy Williams, Republican from The Woodlands, redirected $5 million to crisis pregnancy centers, which are anti-abortion in nature and provide pregnancy services to promote childbirth. A nonprofit organization, the Texas Pregnancy Care Network, was set 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 15, 2007
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