Governor Abbott Releases Budget Recommendations


Governor Abbott recently released his budget recommendations to the 88th Texas Legislature, signaling his intention to continue Texas’ Pro-Life work in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal. 

Now that elective abortion is illegal in Texas, there is a greater need than ever for services caring for pregnant women, mothers, families, and both born and preborn children. Thankfully, Governor Abbott recognized this need in his recommendations. 

First, Governor Abbott has recommended that “the 88th Legislature continue the expansion of Alternatives to Abortion program.” The Alternatives to Abortion program contracts with pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes, reimbursing them for the critical social services that they provide to women. These services include parenting classes, job skills training, diapers, and formula. The program serves women throughout pregnancy and up to three years after the birth of their child. 

In the budgets already released by the Texas House and Senate for the coming biennium, the Alternatives to Abortion program is funded at $120 million. This is an increase from last session’s budget, which had the program funded at $100 million. However, there is a much greater need now than there was two years ago. Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer, the program has already seen over a 40% increase in demand for services, meaning the program is about to run out of money. To meet this increased need going forward, the program must be funded at $200 million in the next two-year budget.

Abbott also recommends investing in women’s health to address the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis. The Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee released a report stating that health outcomes for mothers would improve if insurance coverage was extended to twelve months postpartum. Most pregnancy and birth-related health issues arise within a year after a mother has given birth, and frequently these issues are preventable. If these women have coverage, they will be more likely to seek out and obtain care before their condition rises to the level of an emergency, allowing healthcare providers to catch issues sooner, and ultimately saving the state money.

Foster care improvement is another prudent focus of Abbott’s proposal. With fewer children being aborted, more children are being born, which is wonderful. However, this also acknowledges that most likely more children will end up in the foster care system. Abbott specifically recommends “the Department of Family and Protective Services and providers to transition to an updated rate methodology” to incentivize loving families to take in vulnerable children. 

These are all priorities for Texas Right to Life this legislative session. With a strong life-affirming budget over the next two years, the Texas Legislature and the Governor can demonstrate that our state must continue heading in a direction that is not just pro-birth or anti-abortion, but truly Pro-Life.

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