Lone Star lawmakers only seem to be realizing that now that their 2011 decision to relocate $73,000 worth of funds from family planning services in order to stop the cash flow to Planned Parenthood might result in a skyrocketing birth rate and a back-asswards ripple effect on the state's finances, said The New York Times yesterday: Texas' Health and Human Services Commission has estimated that during 2014-2015, around 23,760 more babies will be born to women in poverty who will need care under Medicaid, costing taxpayers $273 million and the state $103 million to $108 million.
These numbers aren't particularly new in the Texas legislation arena, as last year the cuts were projected to result in about $231 million in taxpayer dollars to support 20,000 unplanned births, but conservative lawmakers were willing to accept that as a side-effect of docking the allowance of godless one-stop abortion shop Planned Parenthood (never mind that only a fraction of the clinics even provided abortion), so it's unclear what's changed. Maybe these policymakers just have reflexes as slow as my Great Auntie Eva. And she's dead.
Rep. Donna Howard of Austin: "I know some of my colleagues felt like in retrospect they did not fully grasp the implications of what was done last session. who said she had been discussing ways to restore financing with several other lawmakers in both parties... I think there is some effort they'll be willing to make to restore whatever we can."
In late October, Planned Parenthood was granted a temporary stay under the blanket of the Texas Women's Health Program. So for now, as long as you can overlook the vintage Sweet Valley High--book-cover-motherfucker-looking logo, you're good, but that shit won't last forever.
Republican Senator Bob Deuell, as a primary care physician, is more aware of the social repercussions of the 2011 funding cuts than many other policymakers in the state: "I've debated this in Republican clubs with people - people who say it's not the government's role to provide family planning... Ultimately, they're right. But you have to look at what happens if we don't."
As a result, a bipartisan coalition will be coming together to brainstorm ways to restore some of the funding to family planning as a cost-saving initiative. While it's unlikely that any new policies would backtrack on including Planned Parenthood, apparently the wider distribution of birth control, which has often been lumped in with the abortion issue in the past, will be a discussion.
When asked about rethinking the funding cuts, Gov. Rick Perry's spokeswoman gave a wishy-washy statement: "Last session the Legislature had to prioritize... [but] every two years we take a fresh look at our resources and our needs."
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