By Ashley Leenerts, Texas Right to Life
Anti-Lifers often accuse the Pro-Life movement of being simply pro-birth, not actually interested in the well-being of mothers or children once the baby is born. They attempt to use this argument to justify the intentional ending of an innocent human baby’s life through abortion. However, the truth is that Pro-Lifers are concerned for the life and health of the mother and her child, both before and after the baby is born. Texas demonstrates this directly through the state-funded Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) program.
The A2A program was established in 2005 to provide critical social services to expectant mothers while they are pregnant and for up to three years after childbirth, two years post-adoption finalization, and 90 days after the tragic natural loss of a child through miscarriage. The program is comprised of nonprofit pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies which are reimbursed for the resources they provide, including counseling, child care, maternal supplies, job skills training, adoption, housing placement assistance, and parenting classes. Since its creation, this program has exponentially grown to serve even more Texans across the state.
Just this past year, the A2A program provided services through 179 brick-and-mortar locations and a dozen other mobile and virtual locations. Through these partnerships, the A2A contracting providers were able to serve 113,125 unduplicated clients who received 2,230,713 different services.
With the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Texas was finally able to protect all preborn babies from abortion for the first time since 1973. This is a great victory for Texas mothers, babies, and families, but there is now a greater need than ever to expand these important A2A services to fill in the gaps for families and pregnant women. We want them to have resources and the community they need in choosing life for their child, rather than feel abandoned into seeking abortion across state lines or illegal abortion pills over the internet.
The Texas Legislature has already expanded the budget item for this lifesaving program from $100 million (from the last biennial budget) to $120 million for the next two years. While this is an increase from the previous biennium, it is not sufficient to meet the increased need our state will see as more women give birth in Texas as a result of our reactivated Pro-Life laws. Texas Right to Life will be working to increase the program’s funding to $200 million for the next two years by the end of the legislative session.
Unfortunately, anti-Life Democrats are already planning to attack and kill this program. Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the greatest opponent of this life-saving program. She and other Democrats have already filed legislation to undermine the critical Pro-Life services provided through A2A.
The legislative fight to protect this life-saving program has already begun in just the first few weeks of the 88th Legislature. Texas Right to Life is prioritizing protecting and increasing funding of the Alternatives to Abortion program this session.
Stay tuned for updates on the budget fight surrounding this life-saving program, and other legislative developments, by texting PROLIFE to 40237.