By:Amanda Hart

It is expensive to be born with a vagina. Tampons alone at times are a commodity (ladies, let me introduce you to your new best friend: The Diva Cup. Your “shit, i guess I’ll just use toilet paper” days are over). And tampons are just one of the many items our vagina’s demand that we sometimes can’t afford. However, i would have to say that above all the other items we need to function in our society the one closer to the top of the list is some form of birth control.

I would like to think that we have progressed past a time in which our doctors and legislators have control over our bodies, but unfortunately this is just wishful thinking. For the last five years Texas has offered The Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP). This once great program provided free birth control, breast, cervical and STD screenings to women who otherwise could not afford them. This assault on reproductive rights was calculated and carried out through anti abortion groups like, Texas Right to Life and our Planned Parenthood hating politicians.

As if Planned Parenthood and the women who rely on them have not been marginalized enough this past legislation through budget cuts and a bullshit sonogram bill, now they are attempting to use rhetoric to kick us in the clit just one more time. Currently the TWHP is up for renewal and although this program has benefited approximately 300,000 Texas women and families over the last five years (me included, independent journalism isn’t exactly known for its health benefits), republicans are set on adjusting the language so that it will exclude Planned Parenthood from the program. 40% of the women who rely on the program received their services through Planned Parenthood. The TWHP saves an estimated $20 million in annual Medicaid spending and receives $9 in federal money for every $1 it spends on the program. And sadly, cutting the program would lead to an estimated 20,000 more unplanned pregnancies (which logically means: more money).

To guarantee that Planned Parenthood providers cannot participate in the program, the bill includes a provision that states if the bill becomes a law and Planned Parenthood sues to overturn it, the state program would be discontinued entirely.

It is well known that Planned Parenthood does not use state or federal money to fund abortions. All Planned Parenthood abortion funding comes from private donors. Family planning clinics all over Texas were recently defunded by cutting $74 million of the $111 million administered by the state’s Department of State Health Services. These cuts affect all facilities but Planned Parenthood took the biggest hit and this is why republicans and anti abortion groups went after said funding.

Texas Right to Life’s Legislative Director John Seago recently told pro-life site, “Even though these clinics are family planning clinics — so there’s not actually any abortions being provided at the clinics that are closing their doors — there’s no mistake that these are abortion-minded clinics that are sending women to abortion clinics.”

These same morons who are ecstatic about the harm they have done to women’s reproductive rights are equally zealous about an increase in state funds to the state’s Alternative to Abortion Services Program (AASP). The AASP’s budget saw a small but significant spike from $4 million to $4.15 million during our last legislation. The AASP disperses money to faith-based and largely unregulated Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC’s).

CPC’s offer ‘mentoring’ and ‘counseling’ to women who are faced with unwanted pregnancies and usually offer no medical services. The centers have a long history of violations, as reported by the Texas Independent, “Official records show… violations ranging from fire safety to possible breaches of client privacy. During 15 percent of inspections (which were not undercover visits), subcontractors had failed to separate and label spiritual and educational materials properly.”

The truth is that even though Planned Parenthood and other family planning facilities are being forced to close their doors and limit services the real victims here are ultimately going to be low income women.