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It’s always been about controlling women

Sadly, there’s nothing new about this.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said Monday afternoon that budget negotiators will likely adopt a 2012-13 family planning budget that is “pretty close” to the House’s proposal — $37 million for low-income women under the Department of State Health Services — compared to the $100 million proposed by the Senate.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, agree that the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, operated under the Health and Human Services Commission with a 9 to 1 federal match, is likely dead.

Both pots of money are a casualty of GOP lawmakers’ efforts to keep Planned Parenthood or any other clinic that provides abortions in some of its affiliate branches from getting state dollars for family planning. (No clinic that provides abortions may receive state or federal funds.) But Coleman and Deuell said it’s something more: lawmakers’ increasing desire to link contraception to abortion.

“Apparently the anti-abortion movement has morphed into the anti-contraception movement,” Deuell said.

Added Coleman: “The objective to end contraception funded by the state is another religious intrusion into the lives of individuals.”

With all due respect to Sen. Deuell, there’s been no metamorphosis. The anti-abortion movement has always been about controlling women’s sexuality. This has nothing to do with the motives of sincere individuals who oppose abortion on principle, it has to do with a reactionary and radical political ideology that unfortunately got a huge boost last November despite being at best a stealth item on the political agenda. It’s also unfortunate that Sen. Deuell, who recognizes this movement for what it is, however belatedly, has nonetheless played right into it with his own legislative attacks on Planned Parenthood. Perhaps he and others like him who do distinguish between opposing abortion and promoting a fanatically misogynistic worldview through legislation might learn something from this. If so, that would at least be a tiny sliver of daylight to emerge from this terribly dark session. It’s up to those of us who have seen this coming for years to make sure they realize it.

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One Comment

  1. mary t. says:

    This study uses data from 2006:

    59.9% of all births in Texas were publicly funded, 73.8% of unintended births were publicly funded (a still whopping 48.5% of intended births were publicly funded). Publicly funded unintended births cost $1,289,100,000.00–$507,000,00.00 was paid by the state–the rest was federally funded. This means Texas spends over half a billion dollars on unintended pregnancies a year, with the average of each publicly funded pregnancy at $9,728.00. Here is the conclusion of the study:

    “Clearly, the public costs of births following unintended pregnancies are substantial and place a burden on federal and state governments. For that reason, investments in programs and policies to reduce unintended pregnancies not only would enable women and families to meet their childbearing needs, but would produce public savings that would strengthen government finances and the sustainability of the nation’s health care safety-net programs.”

    If even a fraction of unintended births in Texas could be prevented, imagine the savings. But that would make too much sense.