On March 20, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 22 seven to zero. Filed on March 7 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), this bill would prohibit transactions between any governmental entity and an abortion provider or an affiliate of the provider. The ban would include state or local tax revenues going to standalone abortion providers and “advocacy or lobbying by or on behalf of a governmental entity on the behalf of the interests of an abortion provide or affiliate.” SB22, co-authored by one Democrat senator and 18 Republican senators, now only has to pass through the two chambers of the legislature to become state law. SB 22 passed the full Senate on April 2.
The bill would not apply to hospitals, universities and clinics that perform 50 or fewer abortions in any 12-month period.
Opponents said the bill would cut off funding to providers like Planned Parenthood that provide affordable health care services for many women.
Mireya Trevino, a public health student at UT-Austin, said that many students go to Planned Parenthood for basic health services such as STD tests, birth control and cancer screenings. “When you’re uninsured, your budget tends to be low or no cost and that’s exactly what Planned Parenthood has,” Trevino said.
Though many support organizations like Planned Parenthood, many taxpayers do not.
“Taxpayers who oppose abortion shouldn’t have to see their tax dollars subsidizing the industry,” Campbell told the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions in the last fiscal year, more than one third of the number of annual abortions performed in the US. That is over 900 abortions a day.
Nicole Hudgens with Texas Values, who testified on March 18 in support of the bill, said that SB22 “prevents local abortion groups, like Planned Parenthood in Austin, from receiving ‘sweetheart’ rent deals [for one dollar a year] while families and low-income individuals in the surrounding area struggle to maintain housing, schools and livelihood” and see “their taxes increase by hundreds of dollars.”
States such as Nebraska and Ohio have already passed similar bills into state law.