Today, Planned Parenthood officially endorsed Prop. 1 in Travis County which—if approved by voters—permits Central Health to raise the health care tax by $.05 to invest significantly in several local health care initiatives. For the average Travis County homeowner, this increase would cost approximately $9/month for a home valued at $214,000. This is not a small amount and something every voter will need to consider carefully but Planned Parenthood has endorsed Prop. 1 to bring vital health care funding to Travis County, including funds that serve low-income women.
Why Prop. 1 is Important for Women’s Health:
As many of you are aware, women’s health is under attack by Governor Perry and the Texas Legislature. Last year, the Texas Legislature eliminated 2/3 of funding for women’s health services including breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests, and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. These political hits are having a devastating impact on an estimated 160,000 low-income and uninsured women in Texas as reported by the Austin Chronicle, Texas Tribune, Texas Observer, New England Journal of Medicine, and others.
Now, Governor Perry is seeking to exclude Planned Parenthood health centers statewide from the Women’s Health Program which, if he is successful, could threaten health care for an additional 120,000 Texas women. Fortunately, a temporary court ruling is currently protecting Texas women who count on Planned Parenthood’s health centers. Prop. 1 will bring additional health care funds to Central Texas to help fill gaps in funding and protect health care access for low-income women in Travis County.
How Austin Stands Up for Planned Parenthood:
In Austin, just one year ago, when Planned Parenthood’s E. 7th Street health center lost all of our federal/state funds that provided essential health care including breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, HIV tests, and other health screenings to more than 4,000 Austinites, you made a difference.
More than 900 of you donated to directly support uninsured patients at our E. 7th Street health center. Today, our E. 7th health center is open and our medical staff have provided more than 3,200 Texans with free annual exams, HIV tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other essential health care because of your support.
On behalf of our patients and those who need access to healthcare, we are grateful—thank you.
How Central Health Stands Up for Women’s Health:
In addition to the generous donations from many of you, Central Health stepped in to make sure that low-income women whose health care services were defunded by the Texas Legislature didn’t lose access to essential health screenings and exams. Central Health signed a $400,000/year contract with Planned Parenthood to pay for health exams for our eligible, uninsured clients, creating a lifeline to ensure that clients seeking basic health services are not turned away.
In the year ahead, Governor Perry will continue to block funding for women’s health services and to ban Planned Parenthood from government funding sources. As a result, it will be more essential than ever that Central Health and other local community partners have resources to support women’s health care.
Will Prop. 1 Protect Women’s Health?:
As part of Prop. 1, Seton and Central Health entered into a partnership to establish a medical school in Austin, and to create an integrated delivery system to enable Central Health to seek a $1:$1.5 federal funding match for local health care projects that improve and transform health care services in Central Texas. The partnership between Seton and Central Health specifically addresses women’s health to ensure that Central Health continues to directly fund birth control and women’s health screenings through community partners such as Planned Parenthood, and others.
On behalf of Planned Parenthood’s Board of Directors, we invite you to join us and support Prop. 1.