The Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT) just got a big and much-needed win, as the federal government has enabled millions of dollars from the state to fund family planning and women’s health services. This federal Title X grant can not be used in programs where abortion a family planning method, but it still provides contraception and preventive screenings. Although this grant excludes abortion, this support comes after years of drastic cuts to family planning and is overall a step in the right direction for women’s health.
Fran Hagerty, WHFPT’s CEO, was reportedly “thrilled” by this news, “in a bit of shock about it, but I am thrilled.” Her shock comes from a heated battle between women’s health providers and the state in differentiating overall women’s health services from abortion services. In the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, Texas lawmakers have spent the last decade limiting women’s health and education service. Going so far as to remove all federal funding from family planning in 2011.
Although the lack of federal funding to abortion services is disappointing, it was expected in such a conservative state with a rich history against the health service. Texas lawmakers would more likely attempting to outlaw the abortion than than fund it. At least in the scenario, other important family planning services will become available to low income individuals.
For the next 3 years, WHFPT coalition will have control on the Title X funds. Hagerty is “confident” that this funding will help repair damage to the state’s women’s health organizations by destructive budget cuts aimed at terminating Planned Parenthood, the states largest provider of women’s health services.
The amount of funding, which is approximately 1 million short of their funding before the politics and budget cuts at ~13 million, will aid at least 190,000 women in the state. WHFPT is made up of 34 providers, including Planned Parenthood, that operate 121 clinics throughout Texas.
Now no taxpayer dollars will go to funding abortion services, but at least some will go to sex education, contraceptives, teen services, STI testing and more.
“One of our objectives was to simplify and take the bureaucracy out of this as much as possible so money could flow to providers without a lot of unnecessary reporting requirements,” Hagerty said. “The only agenda we have is to get high-quality family planning services out to the most men and women possible.”
WHFPT took over Title X on April 1 and has 3 years to apply for their next grant, which by then will hopefully include abortion services.