February 28, 2007
Prevention First

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.

The bills in question are HB1842, co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Strama (Austin), Rep. Rafael Anchia (Dallas), Rep. Sylvester Turner (Houston) and Rep. Rep. Veronica Gonzales (McAllen), and SB837, co-sponsored by Sen. Kirk Watson (Austin) and Sen. Jeff Wentworth (San Antonio). I'm a bit leery about the odds of anything as rational and compassionate as this making it through the process, but one must always hope. Signing the petition couldn't hurt, either. BOR has more, while PDiddie reported from the previous PP Lobby Day.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 28, 2007 to That's our Lege

I went too. I had all friendly legislators, so mine was a fairly easy Lobby Day. Those visiting Dan Patrick and Debbie Riddle, though, didn't have as easy of a time of it, though.

I think it's a good, rational, middle of the road sort of legislation, so obviously it has no chance in hell of passing.

Posted by: 'stina on March 1, 2007 1:39 PM