Planned Parenthood: “Texas lawmakers are making decisions based on politics, rather than on what’s best for women’s health.”

 

Texans demand State Auditor investigate Heidi Group HHSC Grant on behalf of women’s health

 

AUSTIN, TX - Today, health advocates and experts gathered in the Texas Capitol to protest Texas health officials’ recent decision to award a $1.6 million contract for women’s health services to an anti-abortion group that “doesn’t offer any medical services.” Advocates have called for the state auditor to investigate the anti-abortion group’s contract.  This comes at a critical junction, as the Zika crisis approaches Texas borders and after a new report revealed that women in approximately half the state have no access to OB-GYNs.

 

Statement from Yvonne Gutierrez, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

“Texas lawmakers are making decisions based on politics, rather than on what’s best for women’s health. Texas has decimated access to family planning, dismantled access to safe and legal abortion and refused to expand Medicaid coverage. Instead of helping more women get the care they need at proven, qualified providers, Texas is funding its anti-abortion agenda. Texans will not stand for it.”

 

Texas politicians devastated women’s access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other care after slashing funding for women’s health and blocking care at Planned Parenthood. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood led to a 35% decline in women on Medicaid using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% spike in births among women who had previously had access to injectable contraception. The state also slashed funding for the state’s family planning program by two-thirds and implemented a tiered funding scheme to block access to care at Planned Parenthood.  A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the state’s family planning program served 54 percent fewer patients as a result and found more than half of Texas women reported at least one barrier to accessing reproductive health care, such as lifesaving cancer screenings or family planning services.

 

Statement from Dr. Christina Sebestyen, OBGYN from Austin, TX:

“Texas politicians have created a climate where accessing essential family planning health care is nearly impossible for some women. With the Zika crisis at our front steps, Texas lawmakers are doubling down on the dangerous policies that have decimated access to family planning throughout the state. Texas women deserve so much better that this. We call on the state to invest in family planning services from licensed medical professionals and medically accurate information free of judgement.”

 

Dr. Christina Sebestyen and health advocates speak out about $1.6 Million grant to anti-abortion group.

 

The move to grant $1.6 million to the anti-abortion group immediately prompted backlash from the medical community and calls for the state auditor to investigate, making local and national headlines. The Heidi Group is an anti-abortion organization that has never provided medical care, has no experience in administering the provision of health care and is led by a person with a long history of making outrageously false statements about basic science.

 

Statement from State Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston)

“I call for an investigation into the process of awarding this contract. Nearly 3,000 people in Texas have signed a petition to rescind this contract and to remove Carol Everett, who heads up the Heidi Group, from the Texas Women’s Health Advisory Council. If we’re going to talk about ideology, let’s talk about ideology -- but in another setting. Right now and what this taxpayer money is for is to provide health care. And we know that so many women are hurting and are not able to access health care because of the state’s destruction of its own health care system.”

 

Livestream video from the event can be found here.