Houston City Council approves funding for family planning

April 11, 2012 4:16:56 PM PDT
The city of Houston has passed a measure to help fund family planning for women who can't afford things like birth control. The move comes as Planned Parenthood fights to get its funding back from the state.

Health and family planning issues have been controversial at the federal and state level. No one expected it to trickle all the way down to the city level, but that's what exactly what happened Wednesday.

In the past year, we've seen rallies and protests about family planning across the country. So perhaps it was no surprise that a routine state grant about family planning got the attention of one council member on Wednesday.

"This nation needs to return to our foundation of biblical principals being taught in schools, versus government trying to educate folks on how to plan a family," Houston City Councilwoman Helena Brown said.

Brown's remarks surprised the city's health department, which offers the family planning services to low-income women and doesn't involve abortion.

"This is a routine reallocation of funding from the state to us to provide family-planning services to women of child-bearing age in our community; we've done this for many years and will continue to do it for many years," said Kathy Barton with city of Houston's health department.

The grant was approved overwhelmingly by the rest of City Council. So while one battle is over, another continues.

Planned Parenthood just filed a lawsuit Wednesday, trying to get a judge to overturn a state's decision to no longer allow Planned Parenthood to participate in the state's women's health program.

"We filed this lawsuit today, because the rule that Texas implemented impermissibly excludes Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services under the women's health program," said Melaney Linton with Planned Parenthood.

The changes issued by the state are expected to effect on April 30 but Planned Parenthood is hoping a judge will issue a decision before then.

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