Texas state representatives approved a record $225 million to fund Texas’ Alternatives to Abortion program last Thursday.
With the reversal of Roe v. Wade and elective abortion banned in Texas, nonprofit pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes in the Alternatives to Abortion network have seen a 43% increase in demand for life-affirming help.
Through two different bills, Texas Right to Life lobbied lawmakers to direct $200 million to Alternatives to Abortion for 2024 and 2025 and an additional $25 million to the program for the remainder of the 2023 fiscal year.
Pregnant women and Texas families can receive free social services, baby supplies like diapers and formula, job skills training, counseling, adoption assistance, and more through the Alternatives to Abortion program. The state of Texas reimburses nonprofit organizations in the network for the services they provide before and after birth, even until the child is three years old.
Texas operates on a balanced budget. The state can only allocate money it has already brought in, and it can’t spend money out of thin air. This year, Texas has a $32.7 billion surplus.
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Representative Cody Vasut (R-Angleton), who carried the amendment to increase the program’s funding, said during the debate, “These programs provide critical services to women in need. They’ve provided services to more than 100,000 [Texans]” last year.
Vasut’s amendment for Alternatives to Abortion passed with every Republican and even some Democrats voting in favor.
At the same time, state representatives approved a measure to grant $25 million in supplemental funding to the program for the rest of the 2023 fiscal year.
With the surge in Texans visiting Alternatives to Abortion providers, the program was set to run out of money by June 2023. Without additional funding from the Legislature, nonprofits in the network would not be reimbursed for services given to help women choose Life until September 2023.
The Pro-Life amendment, authored by Representative Jeff Leach, passed by a vote of 86-62.
Texas’ Alternatives to Abortion program is the largest and most successful state-funded resource in the country helping women choose Life.
Despite Democrats’ claim that Pro-Life advocates don’t care about children after they’re born, it was liberals who sought to cut funding for adoption agencies and pregnancy help. Three Democrat representatives authored amendments to reduce Alternatives to Abortion funding by over $60 million and add unnecessary red tape to the network’s nonprofit contractors. None of these amendments succeeded.
Last Thursday’s victories are encouraging, but the fight for Alternatives to Abortion is not finished. These bills still have to wind their way through the rest of the legislative process, including review and passage by the Senate and a conference committee comprised of House and Senate members. While this increased funding is a great victory, it is not secured until the bills reach the governor’s desk and are signed by him.
Much is at stake in this first legislative session since the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Fewer than 50 days remain to accomplish incredible goals that would stop illegal abortions, provide Pro-Life assistance to new mothers, and restore Pro-Life values in healthcare.
LifeNews Note: Kim Schwartz writes for Texas Right to Life.
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