A WIN/WIN COMBINATION!
A historic ceremonial bill signing took place this week in Austin, as Gov. Rick Perry signed SB7, a very important pro-life and reduced spending bill which was passed during the Texas legislature’s special session.
Denton County Republican Chairman Dianne Edmondson (who also heads the Republican National Coalition for Life) was one of two pro-life leaders invited to the signing, along with Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life. They both were heavily involved in lobbying efforts to get SB7 through conference committee and passed by both legislative bodies during the Special Session.
Here are some key provisions which have been the goal of pro-life groups for years:
- Defunding Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program ($34 million for the biennium) as it excludes both abortion providers and their affiliates from the Medicaid WHP by giving statutory authority to the Health and Human Services Commission rules to exclude Planned Parenthood.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood from the non-Medicaid Family Planning Grants ($38 million for the biennium) by prioritizing non-Medicaid family planning grants to community health centers that provide comprehensive primary care in addition to family planning, services which Planned Parenthood is unwilling to provide to low-income women.
- Prevents Hospital District from Funding Elective Abortions (up to $450,000 annually) which prevents up to 1000 tax-funded abortions each year in Travis County.
- Promotes adult, not embryonic stem, cell treatments by giving the HHSC Commissioner authority to regulate autologous adult stem cell banks where patients’ own adult stem cells are stored.
This sweeping defunding of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood has, of course, been met with much moaning and groaning by that organization. One key part of the legislation also was to defund Planned Parenthood affiliates, which are related organizations who don’t perform abortions but who often share staff, facilities, etc. with the abortuary. Thus, when the affiliates get tax funds to pay for their staff and facilities, internal funds are freed up for Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities. Cutting off tax money to both Planned Parenthood and its affiliates will be a devastating blow to the state’s (and nation’s) largest abortion provider.
Special thanks should be given to Governor Perry, who put SB7 on the call for the Special Legislative Session and to Lt. Governor Dewhurst who removed the regular session rule requiring 21votes to get any legislation to the Senate floor for a vote which allowed this bill to pass. We also probably should thank Dem. Senator Wendy Davis whose last-day filibuster during the regular session prevented the state constitutionally-mandated budget bill from passing and necessitated the Governor calling a special session where this strong bill was passed. What a great example of “unintended consequences”, though Sen. Davis and her Democrat colleagues had been warned by Republican Senators that a filibuster resulting in a special session would result in legislation that Democrats would not like!
It’s also important to recognize the efforts of pro-life legislators in both houses who pushed this bill forward and got it passed just under the deadline. In particular, Sen. Jane Nelson (Denton and Tarrant counties) and Rep. Dr. John Zerwas ( Ft. Bend, Waller and Walter counties) who authored and shepherded the bill through to its passage and signing.
This legislation saves babies and tax dollars — what a win/win combination!