Travis County taxpayers are currently being forced to fund elective abortions for women in their county. Although the law prohibits any state or federal dollars to be used for abortions, Travis County officials are using local property taxes to provide poor, uninsured women with abortion services. Travis County is the only Texas district currently using this strategy, but Planned Parenthood is partnered with them and likely interested in expanding this practice across the state.
Central Health, formerly Travis County Healthcare District, uses .5% of their health care budget to fund family planning services and elective abortions for poor women in the county. This amounts to $450,000 every year. Central Health is partnered in this endeavor with Planned Parenthood of Austin, Whole Woman’s Health of Austin, and Austin Women’s Health Center. Women are referred to one of these three clinics for the abortion. Travis County has also partnered with the YWCA to offer women counseling after the abortion. There is no counseling available on Life alternatives for these women. The costs range from $495 to $610 per abortion based on the particular services and medications provided. County officials have confirmed that they have never used the entire $450,000 in any year.
It is important to note that abortionists associated with Whole Woman’s Health of Austin have been cited with multiple violations by the Texas Medical Board and are required to appear at a hearing on October 28, 2011. While the exact violations are kept confidential until after the hearing, Whole Woman’s has already been cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the illegal dumping of aborted baby remains. Not only are Travis County taxpayers funding abortions, at least one of the clinics being used is being investigated for unethical and illegal practices.
The money to fund these abortions comes from multiple sources. Sixty percent of the money comes straight out of Travis County property taxes. Thirty-seven percent comes from leasing out the University Medical Center at Brackenridge, and three percent comes from other sources. Travis County officials are certain that they will be able to maintain this funding despite attempts by state officials to reduce it. Clarke Heidrick, a member of the district’s board, told the Texas Tribune, “We’re just not clear on how the state is going to remove funding from us, since we get so much of it from Travis County taxpayers.”
Pro-Life activists must alert the population of Travis County that their tax money is funding abortions. Other communities need to be made aware of what is happening in Travis County, so that Planned Parenthood is not able to employ this strategy with other local governments. Local governments present a loophole for taxpayer funded abortion that must be closed.