Texas Democrats Want Their GOP Colleagues To Study How Access To Birth Control Can Reduce Abortions


Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D) (Credit: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)

Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D) (Credit: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)

The Democratic caucus in the Texas Senate is asking lawmakers to study the impact that family planning and comprehensive sex ed can have on reducing the abortion rate. The state senators have submitted a letter to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) requesting to study how much money currently goes into family planning, and how much additional funding is needed to bring down unintended births.

The move comes in response to the stringent abortion restrictions that the GOP-controlled legislature approved last weekend. Gov. Rick Perry (R), citing Texas’ commitment to reducing abortions, signed the bill into law on Thursday.

“We are calling upon all of our Republican colleagues to not speak out of both ends of their mouth,” Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D) explained. “If they want to reduce the number of abortions — if they really are concerned with women’s health — then help women and families access family planning.” Van de Putte said the study intends to help give the Senate some direction about what types of bills to write in preparation for the state’s next legislative session.

In recent years, Texas has dedicated increasingly fewer resources to family planning programs. Republican officials in the state have recently made big cuts to women’s health clinics and defunded Planned Parenthood. That has caused dozens of clinics to close already. Because so many low-income women are losing their access to birth control, Texas’ health department has already projected that unintended pregnancies and births will rise next year.

Earlier this month, thousands of Texans signed onto a petition asking Gov. Rick Perry (R) to focus on implementing comprehensive sex ed in order to achieve his stated goal of reducing the number of abortions in the state. “Given your stated intention of reducing abortion in Texas, you should support policies that give women and teens the information they need to avoid unplanned pregnancies,” the petition states. “That means ending the state’s promotion of failed abstinence-only sex education.”