Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made it his pilgrimage to shut down Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics in an effort to push his anti-abortion credentials. Perry, who had a short-lived Presidential campaign, spoke at a Pro-life rally on September 26, 2013 at the state capital. He vowed to, “Make abortion a thing of the past.” The 2013 Texas Rally for Life, coordinated by the Texas Alliance for Life, comes on the heels of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the
landmark Supreme Court decision that asserted the right to abortion. Speakers who included Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, championed abortion restrictions already in place in Texas, such as the decision to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Even though its clinics did not use state funds to perform abortions, it was enough, Perry said, that the clinics were affiliated with an organization that
provides abortions. State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, said before the rally that she believed abortions should be a safe and legal option for those who need them.
“It is a medical decision, and legislators do not need to be legislating medicine,” Howard said. To help reduce abortions, she said, Texas should instead restore funding to family planning to help prevent unintended pregnancies. In 2011, the state cut more than $73 million to those services.
In the great state of Texas, the maternal mortality rate has quadrupled over the last 15 years to 24.6 out of 100,000 births in 2010, from 6.1 per 100,000 live births in 1996, according to a report last year from the state’s Department of Health Services. According to the research two Texan counties have reported mortality rates of over 900 per
100,000 births. The report also stated that 15 counties have at least 100 deaths per 100,000 births. Texas Legislature cut funds for women’s health programs which were also being supported by Gov. Rick Perry.
According to multiple news organizations 60 clinics were closed in Texas which left a quarter of a million women without basic care. Birth control and cancer screening were now almost impossible for a large population of women, along with testing of STD’s and other life altering complications during pregnancy. This leaves the state ineligible for Medicaid reimbursement as well as depriving women and teen’s access to reproductive health care.
Closing women’s health clinics because they have or are affiliated with abortion is not the answer to the dilemma. The safety and health of our mothers and teens are just as important as the rights of an un-born baby. Texas’s maternal mortality rates are now ranked with some of the lowest in the world. Out of all the countries the United States is ranked number 50, that means there are 49 countries doing it better than Texas in saving a mother’s life. Greece is ranked
number one for the lowest maternal mortality rate and Afghanistan was last on the list as the worst. Texas is ranked alongside Iran and Saudi Arabia according to the Huffington Post.