I posted this Facebook reply on Oct. 8 in response to a question about what Proposition 1 will mean for women’s health in Travis County. Please take a look at it and share it with your friends, family and followers. Thanks. – Kirk
Thanks for the note, Amy.
Absolutely, Prop 1 will maintain and strengthen Central Health’s ability to provide a full range of women’s health services in Travis County. That’s why organizations such as Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and community leaders like Sarah Wheat and former Rep. Ann Kitchen have endorsed Prop 1 so strongly.
Here’s how it works right now, under the current system: Central Health contracts with various community providers to provide women’s health services, including contraception. When hospitalization is needed, Central Health purchases obstetrical services from Seton and St. David’s. And Austin-area medical residents currently receive training in the full range of women’s health services with rotations at both UMC Brackenridge and St. David’s. The St. David’s Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE) program has been recognized for innovative care and treatment of sexual assault victims.
If Prop 1 passes, this baseline access would be guaranteed, period. But more than that — and this is critical — women’s health services would actually be strengthened.
Central Health plans to use Prop 1 funding (along with the substantial federal matching dollars it would attract) to expand clinical hours, increase gynecological cancer screening and navigation services, and create an obstetrics navigator program which would help women get the best prenatal, delivery and post natal care. And UT-Austin medical students and residents would continue providing reproductive and obstetrical care to low-income women through an arrangement similar to what we have now. Texas law forbids the use taxpayer money for providing abortions, but the medical school will teach all those procedures the way any legitimate, science-based institution would (as all med schools in Texas do).
These local expansions are even more vital than ever due to the Legislature’s tragic decision to slash family planning services funding and discriminate against legitimate providers such as Planned Parenthood.
Given the opportunity to expand use of neighborhood clinics, the availability of federal matching funds, the willingness of UT and the UT System to help us create this pipeline of doctors and healthcare providers our region needs, the ability to create cutting edge services here without forcing folks to travel to places like Houston and Dallas for them, and the unprecedented ability to maintain and expand women’s health services and access — even in the face of an often hostile legislature — I believe Proposition 1 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect the health of women, men and families in every neighborhood across this community.
I urge you to support it, and to encourage your friends and neighbors to support it as well.