AUSTIN, Texas, April 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lawmakers in the Texas House have just voted to approve amendments to the state budget that will divert millions of dollars from family planning funding to organizations that instead provide alternatives to abortion. Some of the money will also go to groups that help those with mental handicaps, or further other medical services.
As of press time, lawmakers have yet to vote on an amendment that would defund Planned Parenthood by prohibiting family planning dollars from going to any abortion provider.
The development was met with outrage by abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which announced on Twitter, “TX House just voted to take $8.3 million from family planning to give to unregulated crisis pregnancy centers for the next 2 yrs.”
As reported by the Texas Tribune, which is live-blogging the debate, the House voted 100-44 on Friday afternoon to add the amendment proposed by state Rep. Randy Weber (R-Pearland) to the state’s biennial budget bill, where lawmakers are trying to close a $4 billion budget shortfall.
Weber’s amendment will divert almost $7.4 million to a fund that will support groups that help women find alternatives to abortion. An amendment to his amendment approved by the House will divert $1 million to a program designed to help autistic children.
The House also voted 95 – 6, with 44 voting “present,” to adopt an amendment by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) that redirects money to children’s mental health. Another amendment dedicated money from family planning to trauma care.
Another amendment proposed by press time was a measure that would divert $10 million per year from family planning to what the Tribune said were “early childhood intervention and the Department of Aging and Disability Services.”
The Tribune reported that Rep. John Zerwas (R-Simonton) said the House might end up cutting nearly $70 million in state funding for “family planning,” and money for Planned Parenthood entirely, if the House adopts all budget amendments Friday.