In Utero News: Sonogram Bill Has Been Blocked, But Texas Women Are Still Kind of Screwed

Thumbnail image for trust_texas_women_logo.jpg
Not a bad plan.
You want the good news or the bad news? Oh, hell, let me just give you the good stuff first: The enforcement of proposed legislation that would have required Texas women to look at a sonogram, have it described to them "in detail" by their doctor and listen to a fetal heartbeat (whether they wanted any of that or not) before undergoing an abortion was  blocked yesterday in Austin by Judge Sam Sparks. Rick Perry issued a statement shortly thereafter: He is not pleased. The order issued by the court prevented the law from going into effect tomorrow, on grounds that several portions of it are "unconstitutionally vague." This is excellent news for those of you who may not wish to undergo forced lecturing alongside your legal medical procedure; neither doctors nor patients will suffer penalties for not complying.

We mentioned before that the bill was opposed by a class action lawsuit organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights and backed by several Texas-based lawyers. In ruling in the CRR's favor, Judge Sparks noted that he was especially disturbed by the provision that women could avoid the fetal heartbeat requirement only if they signed a statement saying they were victims of rape or incest. Overall, as he stated in his ruling, he found it "difficult to avoid the troubling conclusion that the Texas Legislature either wants to permanently brand women who choose to get abortions, or views these certifications as potential evidence to be used against physicians and women."

Now the bad news, or, rather, a reminder thereof. Government funding for Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics has been cut so far that it's almost nonexistent, with continuing devastating consequences. Let's review, shall we?

On Monday we told you about pro-life groups in Sherman celebrating the closing of the Planned Parenthood there with cake and weeping. Yesterday we spoke with Holly Morgan, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of North Texas. She reiterated that the Sherman location closed due to lack of business in that area. "We have three locations that we're closing as a result of a bigger study we've done of where our patients live and work," she said, which are Sherman, Waxahachie and South Dallas. " Long-term [Sherman] unfortunately just wasn't sustainable."

But several of the anti-abortion celebrators linked the Sherman clinic's closing to something else they're really excited about, this mythical event they have repeatedly referred to as the "defunding of Planned Parenthood." It may shock you to learn that some of their facts relating to this defunding are not entirely accurate. There have been widespread family planning funding cuts in Texas at the state level, yes, and they have already been disastrous for women's health, and for preventative healthcare for lower-income people in general. But they're not limited to Planned Parenthood.

To recap: in this last legislative session, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) had around $73 million cut from its family planning budget for the next two years. That's two-thirds of the total funding they had to give out to the more than 300 sites across Texas which provide family planning services. Planned Parenthood is the second largest recipient of those funds, but other Dallas-area clinics get federal money as well, including ones at UT Southwestern, Baylor and Parkland.

In addition, the Medicaid Women's Health Program will be banned from contracting with health care clinics that are "affiliated" with abortion providers. The definition of "affiliate" was just released Tuesday, but it's still not all that precise. Planned Parenthood's lawyers are trying to figure out the effect it will have on their clinics. (Just a guess: It's probably not good.) Under the new regulations, Planned Parenthood and other entities that "only" provide family planning are also put last on the list of entities that DSHS will fund, after city- or state-run clinics and private clinics.

"Well, I'm not planning to have an abortion anyway, so why exactly do I give a shit if these places get less money?" you may be asking yourself, or less foul-mouthed words that effect. For starters, the term "family planning" doesn't actually mean abortion, which already can't be funded by state money. Instead, it covers a bunch of other services, including routine check-ups and follow-up visits, birth control, emergency contraception, lab tests for HIV, anemia, cervical cancer and diabetes, nutritional counseling, pregnancy tests and medication for STDs and urinary tract infections, among other things. The DSHS expects that around 180,000 women will lose access to birth control and cancer screenings as a result of these cuts, and the Legislative Budget Board thinks they could lead to around 20,500 additional births each year.

So, all the other clinics are screwed. But that doesn't mean that Planned Parenthood hasn't also been deeply impacted by the cuts. Several Planned Parenthood locations are going to have to close entirely, including Terrell, Arlington North, Gainvesville, Mesquite and Plano. The rest are converting to a private pay system. All of them.

"We really are trying to set up some specific patient subsidy funds," to help cover the costs for people who can't afford to pay out of pocket, Morgan said. "We're going to be raising private money to put funds to replace the funding that used to come from the state."

With all these family planning entities losing money, Morgan said, "the patients just aren't going to have anywhere to go. It's really worrying. It's really stressful to think about. The lawmakers who did this were really just cutting off their nose to spite their face.To cut $66 million for family planning care can only create more health problems and more unwanted pregnancies. They say their target is abortion and abortion providers, but this is just about denying health care to poor people."

So basically: if a woman finds herself in need of an abortion, she won't be subjected to unnecessary traumatizing bullshit during the process. (Unless of course you call being yelled at or forcibly prayed at by protesters waving signs featuring Photoshopped pictures of dismembered fetuses outside the clinic "traumatizing.") But women who still need low-cost birth control, or check-ups, or a damn diabetes test? They're still screwed. 

Think we can fit all that on top of a cake? Not that we much feel like celebrating.
My Voice Nation Help
44 comments
Char
Char

Speaking as an only child whose father had 5 different women get abortions, I still am pro-choice and I think all this is bs. All women should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies, and they should have the means necessary to be able to get an abortion. All these Jesus freaks are thinking about the immediate future and not the distant future. "Hey everybody let's cut educational spending, make it really hard for gay's to adopt, ban abortion(or at least make it as hard as possible for women to obtain one), and cut all welfare/medical programs! That will make America even more amazing!"-Jesus freaking Republicans. Fuck that, in twenty years our crime rate will sky-rocket(read Freakonomics), we will be giving up a shit load of money to welfare, our school system will be even more wrecked, and guess who will be called to fix this shit, liberal Democrats. Pat yourselves on the backs conservative right-winged assholes

TexanBornNRaised
TexanBornNRaised

I think Rick Perry and his cronies from DSHS who voted to allow this absurd cut to government funding for women's health/family planning should now be required to "privately" pay for all of the unwanted babies who are going to be born (and likely abused or neglected), as well as all of the medical bills for women with diabetes, STDs/HIV, cervical cancer, etc. They want to cut the funding, they should handing the backlash that comes with it.

Ron Kerns
Ron Kerns

Want the same services as "Planned Parenthood"? And, live in Dallas? http://prestonwoodpregnancy.or...

it's NOT funded by the state, but is in direct competition with "planned parenthood"....

can planned parenthood just provide "health care to poor people" WITHOUT also killing the innocent unborn??? If so, then there'd be no problems with it.

If they were in the business of killing animals....PETA and other organizations like it would be fighting to shut them down....but, these are "humans", so it doesn't matter to them, I guess....

Laura Hammons
Laura Hammons

Wonderful article, thanks. I am a working single Mother without health insurance and have relied on planned parenthood for things like UTI's, birth control, and exams. How else would I go to the doctor. This is a war on Texas uninsured Texas women. Out of control!

Travis Rex
Travis Rex

LOL Texans should know by now that when you let the Jesus freaks run the state, bad things ALWAYS happen. 

Whatever123
Whatever123

"Forcibly prayed at"? Wow, talk about screwed up. You would be so lucky to have someone pray for you and that of your unborn child who is about to be killed simply due to being incovienently conceived by it's own mother. Yea, how dare we pray for you!

Rooster
Rooster

I posted this on Andrea Grimes blog, but it warrants reposting here.

Regardless of your views on abortion….

In the state of Texas, we’re laying off teachers, our schools are shit, our roads aren’t any better, we’re staring down a massive deficit….

…..and THIS is what these clowns decided to concentrate on in the last legislative session?

Know I'm Right
Know I'm Right

By all means let's avoid any "unnecessary traumatizing bullshit".  Let's reserve all the trauma for the soon-to-be-dead baby.

Augie
Augie

Another example (and there are legion) that the R party in this state is mean spirited, anti family, anti children, anti education, anti elderly, anti mentally ill wolf in Christian clothing. Unfortunately, the people this state speak often and loudly that clothing is ALL they care about.  

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Personal feeling Don't want one don't have one .But Texas should be the first to Ban the procedure..At every possible level and related procedure .No Exemptions .This it it.Which will set the table for the court fight follows .One way or the other it is time for this to be settled .

 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Its time the madness ends, we need to toss people like Perry out, but thats just common sense. Unfortunately, im convinced the idiots and mouthbreathers in this fine state just dont see it that way..makes me ashamed to call myself a Texan..

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Because the world needs more poor people popping out kids constantly!

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

Only the most blind could fail to see that the egregious sonogram requirement is ONLY intended as a substitute for what the same legislators truly wanted to do which was to ban abortion outright. Not being able to do that, given its pesky legality under Roe, they did the most they thought they could get away with in order to stigmatize women who seek abortions.

Bob
Bob

Be sure to thank Rick Perry and his Republican friends each and every time you enter a voting booth from now until forevermore.  And remember, not voting at all ends up being a vote for Rick Perry.

anon
anon

This is NOT the same thing as Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is a judgement-free environment that focuses on helping women to protect their health and plan their pregnancies. Prestonwood (and other pregnancy centers like it) focus on luring in vulnerable pregnant women and then attempting to prevent them from getting an abortion with lies, false statistics, shaming, and fear. They also do not provide any actual medical services such as contraception or well woman exams. It's pro-life propaganda masquerading as a service to women.

jewelsandra
jewelsandra

Well spoken Laura.  Once before I found Planned Parenthood, I was charged $1500 for an annual checkup.  Seriously?  It took me like 2 years to pay it off.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

So again how many unwanted children have you adopted?   None I bet.

Coleman
Coleman

does that mean you guys are going to pray the shit out of aborted babies?

jfpo
jfpo

You should worry about praying for yourself. I would love to hear you explain to Jesus your obvious disdain for poor people. This article isn't even about abortion: It's about an assault on poor people, specifically poor women.

Coleman
Coleman

what dead baby? oh, you mean that mass of cells?

Rooster
Rooster

Your "unnecessary traumatizing bullshit" is the state of Texas ordering an unnecesarry medical procedure to "educate" someone with a different ideology.

A guy named Adolf Hitler did the same thing.

You can't do that shit in this country; hence the court ruling.

Nth world problem
Nth world problem

Oh won't someone think of the CHILDREN. *wrings hands* *does nothing to support birth control for low income families, naively thinks the best birth control is abstinence and refuses to address the biological urge to procreate in a non-shame-based manner, has never adopted, doesn't take into account the effing cost to the state of these requirements, believes in small government and non-interference in all aspects of life except this*

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

Many Texans are a job layoff, car wreck, unexpected illness or sudden financial emergency away from needing the care provided PP and other health care clinics. Our state's leaders do not seem to care. Nor do a majority of those who elected them.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

People on the right seem to think they as a group can do things like this to create problems for those who seek the procedure .

So how settled is this ?

Those losers sure seem to be making headway to reversing Roe v Wade.

It is foolish to think things are settled while the Rights to have the Procedure are being intruded on every step of the way in most states .

Offering plates are passed some where every Sunday to keep the issue going .

Keep telling yourselves it is settled .

One day you will wake up and it will be settled  in favor of the other side.

BTW Texas had the rape incest clause when Roe V Wade was a case. So it wasn't totally banned .

Rooster
Rooster

It was already "settled".  People have been trying to find a way to get around the "settlement" for 40 years.

thefncrow
thefncrow

This has already happened.  Texas did, in fact, ban abortion outright, which spurred a furious legal battle.  Ever heard of Roe v. Wade?  "Wade" was, in fact, Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. This all played out roughly 40 years ago, culminating in the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973.  The issue has been settled and the anti-abortion crowd lost. 

They're just sore losers who won't accept that what they're after is antithetical to a free society and more at home in the theocracy which they desperately wish to create.

scottindallas
scottindallas

As someone who's broken my nose many times on the rugby field, I resent the term "mouth breathers"  Actually, when visiting Lubbock on a few occasions mouth breathing was a gift, as I didn't have to smell the feedlot.  How bout "dullards" or "rednecks?"

Ron Kerns
Ron Kerns

you've obviously never been there....but, thanks for the reply, anyway....

jewelsandra
jewelsandra

Yes it's funny how quickly & how heavily this discussion reverted to abortion when this article's point is taking other services away from women.  And it's not just poor women.  What about just under-insured women? As a self-employed former server, I've never had insurance.  And Planned Parenthood was the only place for me to get check-ups & birth control that wouldn't charge me ridiculous amounts of money I couldn't afford.

MattL1
MattL1

Wow, you really went Godwin on that one.  

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Wow. That didn't take long. Did we beat the record?

scottindallas
scottindallas

Why wouldn't the GOP include the rape, incest, life/health of the mother clause into the partial birth abortion ban they pushed through Congress with many dem. votes?  The ugly answer is they wanted to portray the courts as "activists"  If you would like to see abortion limited, you should refuse to vote GOP.  That said, I find it disturbing how even modest constraints on this most controversial and marginal of abortion rights is an article of faith among the Dems. 

TexanBornNRaised
TexanBornNRaised

You just verbally kicked Oak Cliff Townie's a$$.  Thank you.

John2247
John2247

Shhhhhh!!

Yes, it was settled, but it's such a good way to get the Talivangelical voters excited and increase fundraising.  

Know I'm right
Know I'm right

So let's see...

People opposed to Roe v. Wade = sore losersPeople opposed to Bush v. Gore = righteous

Laws limiting gun rights = good policyLaws limiting abortion rights = antithetical to a free society

Do I have that right?

And BTW, being opposed to legally sanctioned murder in my case is a moral stance, not a religious one.  Big difference. 

MattL1
MattL1

Couldn't have said it better myself.  Could I have said it as well?  Maybe.  But not better...

Hildi
Hildi

I HAVE been there, and anon is right. Those crisis pregnancy centers are shills for Jesus freaks.

jewelsandra
jewelsandra

Ron, I checked out their site as I will need a new place for check-ups.  They do not provide well women exams or contraception.  

scottindallas
scottindallas

I support the second amendment, abortion rights (based on prohibition reasons) and am against the death penalty (based on fiscal concerns) I support drug legalization (based on prohibition and fiscal reasons)

But, your justification should have you opposed to the death penalty, so, I don't think you have a consistent rationale

Guest
Guest

I personally don't mind reasonable limits in all sorts of areas, but trying to eliminate funding for things like pap smears and contraception because a tiny percentage of a clinic's other, private money goes toward abortions seems overly spiteful.

trashtalk
trashtalk

You live in a state that doesn't mind using the death penalty at will, so "legally sanctioned murder" occurs most frequently in Texas with the assistance right wingnuts like you.

According to your argument, any birth control that limits the growth of any embryo is murder. Welcome to the Dark Ages in Texas, brought to you by the Republican party. Burning witches and uppity women is next.

thefncrow
thefncrow

Would you like to point out where, exactly, I supported the limiting of gun rights in what I posted?

Or would you perhaps like to explain why it is that you'd like to equate a person's ability to control their own bodily functions to a tool which is used to propel bits of metal at high speed in order to puncture holes in other objects?

Perhaps you'd like to take some time in order to put together a coherent argument rather than the slapdash comment you just left.

Coleman
Coleman

What guns rights are limited in this country? Sorry you can't have a fully-automatic assault rifle (unless you have a special permit), I guess?

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...