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Texas BlogWire

Texas Prevention First Act; Unplanned Pregnancies and the Spread of STD's

by: Sam Jones

Tue Feb 27, 2007 at 11:29 AM CST

To address the ever-rising problem of unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in Texas, Representative Mark Strama (D - Austin) filed HB 1842, legislation aimed to promote family planning and healthy reproductive services.  A similar bill, SB 837, was filed by Senator Kirk Watson (D - Austin).

Here is a clip from the media advisory sent to BOR.

As a state, Texas ranks high on a number of public health indicators:

  • In 2003, one out of every two births in Texas was paid for with public dollars.
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services estimates that the first year of a Medicaid-funded pregnancy costs nearly $8,500.
  • In contrast, the cost for a year of family planning care for a woman - including a pap smear and a year of contraception - is only $170.
  • The federal government provides $9 in matching funds for every $1 Texas spends on the Women's Health Program.
  • Texas has the highest rate in the country of teens giving birth. 

    The Texas Prevention First Act - filed as SB 837 and its companion HB 1842 - reduces unintended pregnancies and curbs the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by focusing on prevention measures.  SB 837 and HB 1842:

  • seek to promote Texas' family planning program which provides preventive health care to low-income women and their families;
  • ensure accurate and effective information in the sex education curriculum of schools; and,
  • Keep parents informed of the content of their child's sex education and provide information on how to get involved in their local schools.
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Tomorrow is Planned Parenthood's Lobby Day (3.00 / 2)
Thank you, Representative Strama and Senator Watson, for your good timing.

I'll be at the Capitol tomorrow to see my representatives (Sen. Rodney Ellis and Borris Miles).  I'm going to ask them to co-sponsor either bill, to encourage a committee hearing by contacting the chairs of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the House Public Health Committee, and finally to ask them to vote for the bill when it reaches the floor (and to vote against any unfriendly amendments that would compromise its positive impact).

"The Bushite arctic freeze is thawing nationally, but in Texas we're still iced in. Fight 'em on the ice." -- DVO

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