Taking a Stand on Women’s Health

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Fighting back after Senate Bill 22

This month marked a new low in the war on women’s health being waged by Republicans in the Texas Legislature. 

Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 22 into law, banning any political subdivision of the state from contracting with Planned Parenthood – an organization that provides lifesaving breast and cancer screenings for women, assists with family planning, and provides an array of services many may not be aware of.

Previously, the state had already cut all state funding and programs for family planning services from Planned Parenthood – even ending patients’ access to HIV testing and the Breast & Cervical Cancer Services program, and slashing programs for affordable birth control at Planned Parenthood clinics. And that’s while five million Texas are living without health insurance.

Now, SB 22 is ending local control over public health decisions. That’s flat out absurd. 

Consider this:

  • Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is the second-largest safety net provider in Houston.

  • In 2018, it provided 69,000 tests for STI & HIV in the greater Houston metro area, a 19% increase over 2017.

  • During Harvey, Planned Parenthood stepped in to assist those who were heavily impacted by the storm, distributing no-cost vouchers for free care, along with personal care kits in neighborhoods, and those in temporary housing. It also created the Harvey Patient Relief Fund to provide specific specialized services, such as dysplasia services, that the city could not provide (dysplasia services are treatments for abnormal pap tests and cervical cancer prevention).

  • The City of Houston itself has family planning clinics, but they have a limited capacity and are only open a few times a week. Planned Parenthood is a safety net provider that helps step in and ensure all families are cared for when the city has limited resources.

  • When there were concerns about the Zika virus, Planned Parenthood worked with our city to make sure pregnant women were able to be tested, and distributed Zika prevention kits. 

  • Planned Parenthood also partners the city and others to ensure vulnerable communities are receiving educational services, from sex education to parenting education. 

The list goes on.

Public health and safety are any city’s first order of business. 

Any law that prohibits the City of Houston from coordinating with one of the region’s highest quality health care providers is downright dangerous. SB 22 is a public health menace – not just with respect to natural disasters like the next big hurricane, but also to day-to-day lives of Houstonians and their families.

Abbie Kamin will never stop fighting for women’s health

Abbie will stand up to state overreach – whether by supporting action in the courts or working to replace legislators who have such utter disregard and contempt for women’s health – and fight to make sure Houston continues to be a place where women and their families have access to the critical services that they deserve.

Even though the state has won the latest battle, we can still win the war. One way to help is to get involved with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and work to realize our common value: that everyone – no matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you make – deserves access to health care.