Texas legislature looks to end government contracts with abortion providers

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas legislature is expected to send a bill to Gov. Greg Abbott that bars city or county contracts from clinics that provide abortions. The measure already passed the Texas Senate and was preliminarily approved by the House Friday evening. It needs one more vote there before it heads to the governor.

Under Senate Bill 22, the Texas attorney general can file suit and block agreements between governments and women’s health organizations and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

Supporters of this bill point to a $1 a year lease between the City of Austin and a longtime Planned Parenthood location in East Austin.

Governments in Texas don’t pay for abortions but some government resources go to abortion providers. City of Austin leaders choose to partner with Planned Parenthood in a historically under-served community.

“For almost 20 years Planned Parenthood was my doctor. I was a young woman, working in the service industry, or as a nanny and like a lot of people like me — I didn’t have healthcare,” said Natalie Vallot, a longtime patient at the Planned Parenthood location.

Vallot came to the state capitol to tell lawmakers the 5,000 women who go to this location also go for birth control as well as STD, HIV, breast and cervical cancer screenings.  She joined Democratic lawmakers against the bill.

“What Senate Bill 22 is, is a statement that the Texas legislature is so anti-abortion that we’re going to prove it by hurting women,” said Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin.

Democrats tried to stop the idea with parliamentary tactics but Republican representatives like Fort Worth’s Matt Krause were able to outvote them at every turn. 

“Regardless of your stance of the abortion, pro-life issue, most people don’t want their taxpayer money going to fund that. Maybe it’s a private decision, a personal decision,” said Rep. Krause, R-Fort Worth.

Candy Noble from Allen wrote the bill and with time ticking down opponents don’t have the numbers to stop it.

There will be one more procedural vote Saturday, then small changes with the Senate must be worked out before it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. 

Planned Parenthood Texas released a statement Friday night, saying the bill “is bad for
 public health, puts’ Texans lives at-risk and prevents local governments from making decisions in the best interest of their communities, especially during public health crises.”

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