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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Opinion

New Texas abortion laws go too far


Texas laws to decrease funding for planned parenthood. | File Photo

Texas laws decreasing funding for businesses like Planned Parenthood go too far. | File Photo

It’s not difficult to understand why abortion is so controversial.

One side of the argument claims that it’s immoral, while the other claims it prevents the lives of unprepared individuals from potentially being ruined, and it seems the state of Texas agrees with the former — perhaps too much.

Texas legislation’s new law regarding abortion has recently been passed, and it goes too far in an attempt to end the practice in the state.

On Sept. 1, over 800 new laws went into effect in Texas. While many of them have been receiving significant attention, such as the increase of the smoking age from 18 to 21, raising package theft to a potential felony offense or more lax gun restriction, one that perhaps should be receiving more is Senate Bill 22. It ordains the complete and total denial of public funding to abortion providers in the state, regardless of whether or not funds were to be used elsewhere in the company.

This is a major blow to all family planning services in Texas, but it’s not without precedent.

Less than a decade ago, in 2011, Texas legislators cut two-thirds of funding related to family planning in an attempt to stamp out abortion clinics, and it’s been working very well. Now, it seems they’ve finally gone and decided to try and finish the job.

This couldn’t have happened at a worse time, as it’s taking place in conjunction with the new changes to Title X, which drastically limit a clinic’s ability to recommend or provide abortions. This gag rule has been received so poorly by the family planning clinics around the nation that many of them have decided to opt out of federal funding altogether, including Planned Parenthood.

Simultaneously losing state level funding and being forced to drastically alter their course of business if they accept federal funding is, obviously, a nightmare to face.

Many family planning businesses are rightfully concerned that this complete and total loss of funding is not only going to affect accessibility to abortions but also hinder the ability to provide other services, including performing STD tests or providing contraceptives on college campuses.

The author and ringleader of Senate Bill 22 is Republican Sen. Donna Campbell from New Braunfels. A seasoned politician and emergency room physician by trade, having received her M.D. from Texas Tech, she’s undoubtedly well-versed in the intricacies of the industry that she was and still is trying to smother. She claims her bill is for the purpose of “defending the defenseless.”

However, it would seem that she’s out for more than that.

During the hearing, Democrat Sen. José Menéndez from San Antonio took issue with the bill’s blanket style, all-or-nothing method of cutting off these funds. He specifically cited that in 2017, approximately 5 percent of visits to Planned Parenthood were related to abortion.

He followed up by suggesting an amendment that would have allowed the state to partner with family planning businesses for services unrelated to abortion, but Campbell shot it down, completely disregarding the information Menéndez provided.

Whether or not you agree with abortion, Texas legislators have gone too far in their attempts to end it this time. Maybe if a big enough noise is made about it, then these changes will be undone next year at the 2020 session.

But as is, Campbell’s fervent attempts to stamp abortion out have resulted in a law that will likely do more harm than good. The scope of the family planning industry reaches far beyond this one procedure, but it’s all being attacked here.

Opinion writer Kyle Dishongh is a finance junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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