“I guess what took me by the most surprise was an overall opposition to family planning,” Deuell told me. The fact that such programs were statistically proven to save money by the Legislative Budget Board was not enough to change hearts and minds, even in a budget-slashing session. “My feeling is that [‘the program will save money’] is what you hear every time they want to increase the size of government,” said Representative Kelly Hancock, the policy chairman of the Republican caucus. He added that the caucus’s opposition to such programs “had nothing to do with the women’s health issue.”
Texas Monthly has a terrific and troubling story about the fight to fund women’s health care programs and defund Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas. With the majority of seats, and “total control over the law-making process,” Republicans launched a campaign and attacked their own colleagues who spoke up against them. When Senator Robert Deuell, a physician and conservative who is strongly opposed to abortion, pointed out that if birth control wasn’t funded, the government would later spend much more on prenatal care, his colleagues attacked him and compared him to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Try not to get too angry while reading this.