June 23, 2015 — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Saturday signed a budget proposal that will prevent Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state from receiving funding to participate in a program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings for underinsured and low-income women, the Texas Tribune reports.
The budget is set to take effect Sept. 1 (Ura, Texas Tribune, 6/20).
Program and Budget Details
The state's Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program uses state and federal funds to provide no-cost cancer screenings and diagnostic tests to low-income women ages 21 to 64 who do not have health insurance or are underinsured.
Under the budget, all facilities affiliated with abortion providers are barred from receiving funding under the BCCS program. State law already prohibits Planned Parenthood facilities that perform cancer screenings from offering abortion care if they receive taxpayer funds (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/21). According to the Tribune, the budget will cut off some of the last public funding that went to Planned Parenthood in Texas (Texas Tribune, 6/20).
The budget provision is intended to target 17 Planned Parenthood clinics in the state. Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas currently serve roughly 10% of women participating in the BCCS program. Specifically, affiliates of Planned Parenthood in fiscal year 2014 served nearly 3,000 women and received about $1.2 million in funding under the program.
Under the new restrictions, clinics that are affiliated with abortion providers could still receive BCCS funding if the state cannot find other eligible providers for the program in certain areas (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/21).
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said, "It's really incredible how low the governor and some of the state legislators will go when you start throwing women out of cancer screening programs and making it impossible for them to continue to go get services where they have before." However, Richards noted that despite Texas' antiabortion restrictions, the organization is "not going anywhere."
According to the Tribune, Richards on Saturday joined several other abortion-rights supporters to protest the budget provision outside the Governor's Mansion.
Meanwhile, Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Joe Pojman called the budget provision a "big victory" for his organization (Texas Tribune, 6/20).