AUSTIN, Texas — On Monday at the State Capitol, advocates with Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, the political action committee of the reproductive health care provider, showed their support for Senate Bill 1314 – the Comprehensive Access to Reproductive Health Entities, or C.A.R.E. No Matter What Act. It would make Planned Parenthood and other established family planning providers eligible to receive state and federal dollars again.
"Texans have lost access to critical life-saving care after Planned Parenthood was excluded from federal Medicaid and other essential family planning programs, and that number will continue to grow if Gov. Abbott has his way," Planned Parenthood Texas Votes' Wendy Davis said.
State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt authored the bill and calls the trajectory of women's health in the state "terrifying."
"Because of Texas policies, 82 women's health clinics, one out of four, have closed or eliminated family planning services, and one-third of those were Planned Parenthood health care centers," Eckhardt said.
Onjheney Warren is a Houstonian who credits Planned Parenthood for helping her feel "safe, heard and validated."
"I don't know where I would have gone for STI testing, for wellness exams, breast cancer screenings, PAP tests," Warren said.
Advocates say if the bill passes, more Texans will be able to access birth control, cancer screenings and STD testing. But not everyone is on board. Texas Right to Life President Dr. John Seago believes the bill is an attempt to undo what he calls "anti-abortion" victories the state has seen in the last few years.
"This bill itself is not about health care; it's about those health care providers and making sure they receive funding again," Seago said.
It's an ongoing battle for tens of thousands of Texans.
Several Democratic Senators have signed on in support of the bill but no Republicans. Sen. Eckhardt realizes she'll need Republican support to advance the proposal.