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.