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Planned Parenthood To Rally At Texas Capitol Today
The fight continues in Planned Parenthood's battle for funding. On Thursday morning, hundreds are expected to rally at the Capitol against what the organization says is an attack on women's health.
The group hopes their actions on the South Steps go far beyond the gates of the capital after major cuts to the state's family planning funds during the 2011 Legislative session and the organization's exclusion from the state's Women's Health Program.
"I don't have insurance so, yeah, any extra help is always good," said Siobhan Fitzpatrick, of Austin, early Thursday morning.
Lawmakers banned state money to organizations linked to abortion in 2011.
"That doesn't make any sense to me at all," said Saphia Alami, of Austin. "I feel like people should be able to get screenings for whatever they need and the government should fund that."
"Just thinking of quality of life and the alternatives, (I) just think it's better than some of the alternatives," said Morgan Spenceley, of Austin.
This week, one North Texas senator introduced a bill that would stop Planned Parenthood and organizations linked to abortion providers from teaching sexual education in schools, which advocates say is a conflict of interest.
Austinite Wanda Kanirie, who has school-age grandchildren, says she supports more information being available in schools' sexual education programs.
"Every bit that we can get in our minds as we're growing up," said Kanirie. "We're young, we absorb it."
Abortion remains a hot button issue. The required 24-hour waiting period could be history if one Democratic state representative's bill passes.
"I'm sure each woman or each person thinks about that a lot anyway," said Fitzpatrick, who agreed with the idea.
Rep. Jessica Farrar points to a study led by UT researchers that found waiting typically doesn't change a woman's mind and can hurt her financially.
But Tuesday, abortion opponents filed a "fetal pain" bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, after which advocates say a fetus can feel pain. Governor Rick Perry has supported the measure.
While many Austinites we spoke with did not have an opinion on the fetal pain bill, a recent poll by the Texas Tribune found that 57% of Texans favor the measure.
By Adam Bennett