AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of State Health Services has decided to cut Planned Parenthood out of its HIV Prevention Program. The state didn’t give much of an explanation as to why. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast got a letter from the state simply saying they were out of the HIV Prevention Program along with the $600,000 that comes with it.
This cut seems to be the latest in a series of funding cuts to Planned Parenthood. Conservative leaders announced Medicaid will also soon be off limits. Earlier this year, lawmakers cut them out of money to pay for breast and cervical cancer screenings.
But some complain this time lawmakers were left completely out of this decision. “To have this happen without any warning, without any public discussion, without any involvement of the legislature, it’s very disconcerting,” said Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. She says politics shouldn’t get in the way of the health of Texans. “It’s not based on the delivery of healthcare at all and we’re talking about thousands of people.”
But for Joe Pojman at the Texas Alliance for life, it’s simple.
“No money should go to Planned Parenthood because of its involvement in the abortion industry because of its involvement in promoting abortion,” said Pojman.
He says while the Supreme Court does not allow Texas to outright ban abortions, this is a step in the right direction.
“We all understand that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit, but they want to get as much revenue as possible and that’s what were’ talking about,” said Pojman.
With no grant money going to the women’s organization, they’ll have to cut services or have other donors pick up the tab.
Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit suing the state of Texas over previous attempts to cut them out of federal money.
For some perspective, since 1988, the money received by Planned Parenthood has paid for 138,000 HIV tests.Those tests have informed 1,200 people that they were HIV positive. That’s an average of one person testing positive every eight days.
Nationwide the debate continues over Planned Parenthood funding.
According to the national Planned Parenthood 2013 Annual Report, 42 percent of their work focused on testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and diseases, while 34 percent involves providing contraceptives and 3 percent involves abortions (327,000). Planned Parenthood provided testing and treatment for STD’s and STI’s nearly 4.5 million times along with more than 700,000 HIV tests. They also provided more than 3.5 million contraceptives.
If you need to best tested for HIV, you can get a free test through the Austin/Travis County Health Department.