Today is Planned Parenthood Lobby Day in Austin. The timing is propitious, as a couple of bills were filed yesterday to implement what is being called the Texas Prevention First Act of 2007. From the website:
The Texas Prevention First Act of 2007 will:
- Reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and the spread of sexually-transmitted disease through accurate and effective sex education in public schools and outreach for family planning services state-wide. By reducing unintended pregnancies, we will reduce the abortion rate in Texas.
- Increase outreach for Texas' family planning program through print and broadcast media, websites, and a toll-free telephone number. When fully implemented in 2009, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) projects that the Women's Health Program, created during the 79th Legislature, will serve only 12 percent of the eligible population. By increasing enrollment in effective and cost-saving programs such as the Women's Health Program, Texas will increase access to health care and family planning services for adult women in need and, ultimately, save money.
- Save public dollars while improving women's health. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) estimates that it costs less than $170 per client per year for preventive family planning, whereas, it costs over $8,500 for the first year of a Medicaid pregnancy. In addition, one out of every two births in Texas is paid for with public dollars. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, every public dollar spent on preventive family planning services saves taxpayers $3 in Medicaid costs for prenatal and newborn care. The Women's Health Program, for example, is projected to save Texas $278M over five years, and the federal government matches Texas' investment in this program at a ratio of 9 to 1.
- Involve parents in their children's sex education by requiring school districts to notify parents of the content of their child's sex education curriculum, of State Law regarding sex education, and of ways to get involved in the development of this curriculum.