An old controversy is brewing over a new Texas senate bill. The State senate approved “SB 22” in a preliminary vote this week.
If it becomes law, it could leave agencies that perform abortions unable to access taxpayer money.
Additionally, the bill looks to ban sex education services such as being able to promote HIV testing and treatment of STD’s, which is making some law makers and religious groups at odds.
“As a city we have made it a point to give our community access, whether it’s to condoms, education through the schoolboards, and this bill directly undermines our efforts to keep our community healthy,” City Representative Alexsander Annello shared.
Some city leaders and board members with Planned Parenthood of Greater El Paso stood together against SB 22 in a news conference Friday morning. They say it would threaten government and health partnerships by banning taxpayer dollars from being used by an abortion provider.
“When it decides we can’t have these local partnerships, it prevents us making local decisions and also prevents us from blocking some of the increases of STI’s in El Paso’s community,” El Paso attorney and board member Lyda Ness Garcia told KTSM, “People may know El Paso has one of the largest STI’s in our community and Texas continues to lead the nation in teenage pregnancies.”
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso disagrees and said it shouldn’t be up to politicians or Planned Parenthood to makes these decisions, “We need to be careful about sex education as far as who’s teaching our children what. I think parents need to protect the sanctuary of their own home, of their own safety for their children,” Deacon Frank Segura told KTSM.
The bill is currently working its way through the state legislature. Both sides, willing to fight for what they believe is right.
“I would be very interested to see a long term goal in creating an agenda where we would help and collaborate with assests and community resources already available instead of going with planned parenthood and their agenda,” Deacon Frank Segura said.
“One of the most powerful things we have is our voice and our vote. So we’re urging everyone to let their representatives know at a state level that they are opposed to this intervention with local control over our healthcare decisions,” Garcia added.
Whether or not the bill does pass, the Church is calling on the City and County to collaborate with existing medical clinics on providing health services to men and women instead.