Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Good Bill Gone Bad, Moves On

The House is flying through bills in a rush to meet the midnight deadline of having all senate bills passed through second reading. One of the bills that was whisked through with no debate is Senate Bill 747.

This bill, authored by Dallas Republican John Corona, was a well-intentioned bill for women's health care . . . in the beginning. The bill broadens a Medicaid waiver program for low-income women to receive preventative health services. An astounding proposition.

But, alas, it was too good to be true. Sen. Robert Deuell (R-Greenville) amended the bill not only to require that no abortions are funded with tax dollars as federaly mandated, but also to bar the money from being used for any health care entity that provides or promotes abortions.

The bill's broad restrictions drastically reduces the number of providers that are eligible to be used under the bill. Planned Parenthood, although only a few of their numerous clinics statewide offer abortion services, would be excluded from offering services to the women falling under the Medicaid waiver program. More information on the bill can be found in the Bad Bills section of the latest issue of the Observer.

Rep. Warren Chisum amended the bill on the House floor to require that the program emphasize abstinence education for those who are not married.