Republicans hope faith-based groups can pick up slack
We reported yesterday on a legislative analysis obtained by the Observer that estimates family planning cuts contained in the House budget would lead to 284,000 Texas women losing essential healthcare and birth control services. The cuts could cause a rise in Medicaid-covered births that will cost the state $100 million.
You might wonder what a chief proponent of these family planning cuts thinks of the analysis by the Legislative Budget Board. We were wondering too. So we asked Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, who last week instructed his House colleagues serving on the budget conference committee to maintain the nearly $62 million in cuts to state family planning programs to ensure state funds do not go to abortion provider affiliates, also known as Planned Parenthood family planning health centers.
Miller’s response to the impact of the cuts? Too bad—family planning providers will just have to deal with cuts like everyone else.
The proposed cuts won’t just harm Planned Parenthood but every family planning service provider. In fact, state funds make up a small portion of most Texas Planned Parenthood facilities’ budgets, while some non-Planned Parenthood providers rely on state funding for their very existence.
Miller said yesterday that those non-Planned Parenthood family planning providers—which range from independent clinics, physicians and community health centers—will have to deal with cuts “just like all the other state agencies.” Some smaller providers that have several clinics have said all session that they’ll almost definitely have to close a facility if cuts remain so drastic in the final version of the budget.
“They’re going to have to learn to do with less,” Miller said. “They’re going to be cut.”
But these cuts feel a bit different than others passed in the bare-bones budgets. Miller and other conservative lawmakers have made it clear that Planned Parenthood is a target this session, and in efforts to defund the organization, it seems they’re willing to do anything to attack the organization, no matter who they hurt along the way.
Miller also said women who lose their family planning provider—whether that be Planned Parenthood or another smaller clinic—can find those services elsewhere, like “faith, community-based pregnancy care centers.”
Miller was seemingly referring to crisis pregnancy centers. Unfortunately, they don’t provide any type of medical care to women—no oral contraception, no annual Pap smears, no cancer screenings or STD tests.
That’s not good news for the hundreds of thousands of low-income women who may soon lack access to family planning services.