Last month, a new law that aims to suffocate reproductive healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood officially went into effect.
The law, Senate Bill 22, prevents state and county governments from partnering with healthcare providers that offer abortion, effectively barring any transactions, donations or services between groups like Planned Parenthood and local governments.
Executive Director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Dyana Limon-Mercado told the Signal the new law has already begun impacting their operations in the Lone Star State.
“Everybody should understand that the attacks on reproductive rights, on abortion access, they go hand in hand– it’s not just about access to abortion,” Mercado said.
Mercado said an effort by Planned Parenthood to partner with community colleges to create pop-up clinics that offer screenings and access to birth control is being scrapped as a result of the new law. Likewise, a partnership between El Paso’s local health department and Planned Parenthood to curb sexually transmitted diseases by providing free condoms has also been cut.
Planned Parenthood lawyers are still reviewing other initiatives that might be impacted. Mercado noted that the new law was the latest “death by 1,000 cuts” attack on reproductive healthcare providers in Texas.
Death by 1,000 cuts
Although the GOP-led Texas Legislature is not in session, the Republican Party nationally continues its hardline crackdown on the reproductive healthcare of women. In August, the Trump administration forced Planned Parenthood to withdraw from Title X funding, a federal grant program that provides more than 4 million poor and working-class families with access to contraceptives and other healthcare needs, including cancer screenings. Of those 4 million patients, roughly 40 percent were served by Planned Parenthood.
Worse, U.S. Supreme Court justices are expected to rule on a sweeping abortion case that could further hamper the efforts of Planned Parenthood in Texas and elsewhere.
Three years ago, the Court ruled against a Texas law that attempted to regulate abortion providers out of existence through bureaucratic red tape and unfair restrictions (Texans may remember Wendy Davis’ thirteen-hour-long blockbuster filibuster to block the bill).
Now, the Supreme Court is ready to hear another case filed against a near-identical state law in Louisiana. This time around, the make-up of the Court is different, with newly Trump-appointed arch-conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh hearing a case on abortion.
Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org