The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services met September 13 to discuss the new Healthy Texas Women program, the third iteration of a state women’s health program that has been drastically underperforming since 2013.
The state gave The Heidi Group $1.6 million to participate in Healthy Texas Women. The Heidi Group is an anti-abortion nonprofit led by an activist who is dangerously misinformed about basic public health. The group received the second largest contract in the program, despite not currently providing medical services.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas testified against the contract Tuesday and delivered a petition signed by 5,455 Texans demanding the state defund the Heidi Group. Blake Rocap, legislative counsel at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, made the following statement in response to the hearing:
“It is outrageous that the state’s family planning dollars are going to fund anti-abortion organizations while Texans continue to face barriers accessing contraception and medical care, and more women are dying after childbirth. The Heidi Group is not a health care provider and its list of subcontractors includes a clinic that has closed and crisis pregnancy centers that provide biased and misleading information and shame women for having abortions.
Texas does not allow qualified providers such as Planned Parenthood and independent reproductive health clinics that offer or refer patients to full-spectrum care, including abortion, to participate in any state reproductive health program. By excluding these providers, Texas is continuing to play politics with reproductive health care. People deserve to feel respected and valued in their healthcare decisions and have the right to access safe, competent care at their chosen provider.
As long as lawmakers continue to place political restrictions on access to health care, no amount of money, program redesign or handwringing by the very legislators responsible for destroying the health care safety net will meet the needs of Texans.”
Read more about the implications of the state funding anti-abortion organizations and playing politics with Texans’ health in NARAL Pro-Choice Texas’ op-ed published today.