Just Texas, a project of the Texas Freedom Network, sent out the following press release today:

Clergy from diverse faith traditions across Texas are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to stop interfering with the freedom of women to see providers of their choice for health screenings, family planning and other reproductive health care services.

“Women have a moral and legal right to decide for themselves which health care providers they will see,” said the Rev. Valda Jean Combs, an associate minister at Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston. “As faith leaders in our communities, we cannot be silent when politicians interfere with that freedom and risk leaving vulnerable women without access to the basic care they need and deserve.”

Combs is one of more than 50 faith leaders who have signed on to an open letter to Gov. Abbott on the issue. Today’s public release of the letter, which is available here, comes as Gov. Abbott tries to enforce a ban on Medicaid funding for health care services provided at Planned Parenthood clinics. Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit challenging the funding ban. An initial hearing in the federal court case is pending.

Gov. Abbott and other… Read More

It was bad enough that Texas lawmakers in 2011 cut funding for family planning services for low-income women by two-thirds. Scores of family planning clinics closed around the state, and tens of thousands of women lost access to those critical services. But now the Texas Observer reports that the state even failed to spend federal grant funds that were available for family planning.

The Texas Freedom Network has been working throughout the current legislative session to help restore funding to family planning programs. A statewide poll conducted in February for the TFN Education Fund found that 73 percent of registered voters support state funding for those services, including birth control, for low-income women. This makes sense for Texas taxpayers. The Texas Health and Human Services commissioner has estimated that the deep cuts made in 2011 could result in 23,760 additional births covered by Medicaid in 2014-15. That would cost taxpayers an additional $273 million.

Providing state funding for birth control and family planning is also simply the right thing to do. The freedom of women to decide when or if to have children is essential to women’s health, individual rights and family stability in our state.… Read More