Austin, Texas – A legislative committee in Texas has approved a bill that seeks to expel the abortion provider Planned Parenthood from public schools in the state.
The bill, introduced by Republican Senator Ken Paxton, was approved in the Senate Education Committee by a 6-2 vote. The two dissenting senators were both Democrats: Royce West and Letitia Van de Putte.
Reports state that the vote took place with little discussion, but a public hearing was held on the matter last week, which erupted into a lively and passionate gathering.
According to The Statesman, those that supported the legislation remarked that Planned Parenthood wrongfully encourages youth to explore their sexuality, and advocates abortion. Those that opposed the bill stated that it may result in school districts offering no sexual education at all at a time when many teen girls are becoming pregnant.
The proposed legislation would prohibit any organization from teaching sexual education in schools if that organization performs abortions or is associated with any other entity that provides abortion services, thus eliminating Planned Parenthood. The bill would also require parents to sign a waiver if any organization is brought into the classroom to teach sex ed other than those already employed by the school district.
Current laws require material used for sexual education classes to be made available for public review, and parents may opt-out their children at any time without penalty.
Online reaction to the approval of the bill has been mixed.
“Some of us aren’t so trusting of PP,” wrote one commenter. “We refuse to give them free reign on ‘educating’ OUR children.”
“Planned Parenthood provides birth control information. They are not the enemy, people; they provide an invaluable service to our community and our country,” stated a second reader. “Yes, not having sex is a guarantee that pregnancy will not occur, but guess what? A percentage of teenagers are going to have sex.”
“I don’t understand all the Planned Parenthood worship,” remarked a third. “You act like PP is the only source of information or women’s healthcare on the planet. It’s bizarre.”
The bill will now move forward to the Senate for a vote. Similar regulations are being presented in the House by Republican Jeff Leach.
Texas has been fighting against Planned Parenthood in the courts for over the past year as the abortion provider had sued the state for passing legislation that excluded Planned Parenthood from participating in the state Medicaid program. After several appeals, the court ultimately ruled in January that Texas has a right to defund the organization if it so chooses.