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Senate pushes back on House efforts to redirect family planning funds

A little sanity is always nice to see.

State budget cuts taking aim at Planned Parenthood may limit the availability of family planning services for many poor Texans and have the unintended consequence of increasing unwanted pregnancies, two key lawmakers said Monday.

State Sens. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, and Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said they hope a conference committee will restore funding to the State Department of Health Services Family Planning program. Both are members of the Senate Finance Committee and focus on health issues.

“I don’t care for Planned Parenthood, (but) I don’t want to cut access to family planning. I don’t want to decrease access,” said Deuell. “One way to stop abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”

Nelson agreed, saying, “We need to help women who need our assistance with family planning or contraceptives to not have a baby when they can’t care for it.”

Sure seems obvious, right? Women who aren’t pregnant don’t get abortions. But the so-called “pro-life” crowd has always been more about controlling women than about sound public policy, so here we are.

Fran Hagerty, the chief executive officer of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas, predicted the family planning cuts ultimately would cost taxpayers.

“The rule of thumb is, it costs $180 a year” for a woman to receive a physical exam and receive a year’s supply of birth control, Hagerty said, while a baby born on Medicaid will cost taxpayers $10,000 in its first year.

“When you compare that, it’s a no brainer,” Hagerty said. “The number-one factor for low-income women becoming welfare dependent is an unwanted pregnancy. If birth control is not available, they are more likely to stay in poverty and become dependent on the state.”

As long as they can’t get an abortion, the “pro-lifers” don’t care. They can always cut the funding for programs that would help these women so the budget balances in the end. See how easy it is?

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