McALLEN, Texas, September 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County announced recently that it will close clinics in Rio Grande City, San Carlos, Progreso and Mission as a direct result of a pro-life bill Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law in July. That bill stripped the abortion organization of its funding and prohibited the state government from contracting with any organization that provides abortions.
Seven Planned Parenthood clinics in North Texas – in Sherman, Gainesville, Arlington, Mesquite, Plano, Terrell, and Waxahachie – have closed, or are scheduled to be closed by the end of September. Planned Parenthood’s website indicates that a center in Groesbeck is “temporarily closed.”
According to The Monitor newspaper, the Hidalgo County Planned Parenthood affiliate will consolidate its offices and refer existing customers to remaining centers in McAllen, Edinburg, San Juan and Weslaco.
Isabel Mercado, president of the agency’s board, told the Monitor that the cuts will have a “devastating effect” on Planned Parenthood’s operations in South Texas, with staff having to be cut from 67 to 32.
While Mercado insisted that the cuts will negatively impact the health care of impoverished women who depend on Planned Parenthood for access to cancer screenings, birth control, and sexually transmitted disease treatment, as LifeSiteNews reported in April, funds stripped from Planned Parenthood have been re-allocated to women’s health programs that do not provide abortions, and to organizations that provide alternatives to abortion, such as crisis pregnancy centers.
The Monitor noted that women who qualify for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program will continue to receive free health services.
Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, praised Governor Perry as an outspoken and unapologetic advocate for protecting the sanctity of human life from fertilization until natural death, and who has effectively put his advocacy into action during his tenure as Texas’ top official.
“No state in recent years has passed more Pro-Life legislation or removed more tax dollars from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion committer, than Texas,” Graham states in the group’s website.
“In fact, Governor Perry partnered with Texas Right to Life to cut revenue to the abortion industry in the state’s budget in the recent 2011 Legislative Session.
“When Texas Right to Life personally verified the clinic closings, the staff at these agencies confirmed that the loss of public funds [that’s my money and your money] was the sole reason for the closures. And Governor Perry helped Texas Right to Life take it away from Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider.”
Perry’s signature on Bill SB 7 placed Texas among several other states that have de-funded Planned Parenthood this year, including Indiana, Kansas, New Jersey, and North Carolina.