On Thursday, April 22, the Texas House will consider, debate, and vote on C.S.S.B. 1, the biennial state budget bill. The budget outlines and establishes the priorities for the State Legislature, including the Pro-Life Priorities. C.S.S.B. 1 must accomplish three Pro-Life goals in the biennial budget: (1) fully fund the Pro-Life Alternatives to Abortion program (A2A), (2) instruct the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to follow the Legislature’s intent when administering A2A, and (3) preserve current Pro-Life policies or programs in the budget.
- The Alternatives to Abortion program, established in 2005, has grown exponentially into a robust, statewide social service network that contracts with social service agencies, pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes. This Pro-Life program provides counseling, parenting classes, job skills training, the dispensing of diapers and formula, and much more. C.S.S.B. 1 currently funds the program at $80,022,732 for the biennium, a paltry increase from the 2019 legislative session. However, the Senate has made the life-saving decision to appropriate $100,022,732 to A2A for the biennium. If the funding is not increased to $100 million, the program’s impact will be limited, further delaying the waitlist of qualified providers ready and willing to serve families in need. Moreover, the number of Texas women utilizing A2A providers expanded 52% from 2019 to 2020 due to COVID-19, and demand is expected to rise. Several Pro-Life legislators have pre-filed amendments to increase the program’s funding and foster the continued expansion of services to women, families, and preborn children. In order for the program to accept pending providers and continue serving more Texas families, the Legislature must raise the total funding of the Pro-Life program to at least $100 million for the biennium.
- HHSC manages the Pro-Life Alternatives to Abortion program. Unfortunately, HHSC has historically thwarted the program by delaying contracts and shifting the scope of this successful program. The Legislature must pass a rider to protect the program, codifying the Legislature’s intent to prevent any changes or deviations from the core purpose of this proven, life-affirming program.
- Numerous elected officials have pre-filed anti-Life amendments. Some amendments attack A2A, other amendments explicitly remove Pro-Life riders, yet other proposed amendments include ambiguous language which could open the door for taxpayer funds to flow to abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood. The House must block each of these dangerous, anti-Life amendments.
Votes on the following amendments are eligible for scoring on Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Scorecard for the 87th Legislature:
|Article||Packet Page Number||Author||TRTL Position||Summary||Status|
|I||P. 12||Howard||Oppose||Reduces the funding of the Alternatives to Abortion program by $35 million.||Withdrawn|
|I||P. 48||Vasut||Support||Increases funding of Alternatives to Abortion program by $20 million, to $100 million total over the biennium.||Withdrawn|
|I||P. 49||Vasut||Support||Increases funding of Alternatives to Abortion program by $20 million, to $100 million total over the biennium.||Withdrawn|
|II||P. 86||Johnson, Ann||Oppose||Reduces the funding of the Alternatives to Abortion program by $20 million.||Failed|
|II||P. 87||Vasut||Support||Increases funding of Alternatives to Abortion program by $20 million, to $100 million total over the biennium.||Withdrawn|
|II||P. 90||Hefner||Support||Increases funding of the Alternatives to Abortion program by $1.4 million, to $81.4 million total over the biennium.||Withdrawn|
|II||P. 92||Guerra||Oppose||Allows abortion providers and their affiliates to receive Alternatives to Abortion funding.||Withdrawn|