Banned, but not beaten. Several hundred supporters of Planned Parenthood rallied at the state Capitol Thursday. They were there urging lawmakers to allow the organization back into a state health care program created to help low income women.
Planned Parenthood was shut out by state lawmakers two years ago, but that did not stop supporters to return to the Capitol determined to get back in. There is a sense of urgency for those at this rally. The organization lost access to millions of dollars after being banned from participation in the state health program for low income women.
Several banners like one depicting a pregnant Governor Rick Perry made it clear who this group and its political supporters blame.
"We know you know I know that it's time to stop playing politics and put aside politics and use common sense," said State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) Houston.
Janie Flores traveled from Seguin to hold a sign declaring her faith and support for Planned Parenthood. - For her there is no contradiction.
"Because it does not entail religion, it's a personal choice ... it's an individual thing," said Flores.
The odds are not good that the fence put up to keep Planned Parenthood away from state funding will come down during this session. More may actually be going up. A Bill has been filed to prevent people affiliated with Planned Parenthood from teaching Sex Ed classes in Public Education.
State lawmakers are expected to approve a new budget with more money for women's health care. The hope that someday funding will eventually make it into a Planned Parenthood bank account is why people like Marsha Jones refuse to give up.
"If you had asked me this last week I would probably would have said wow we are going to have to do something different, but to see all of these women out here today, and especially to see men out here today, I believe that we can make it happen. It's not going to be an easy fight, but if we continue to fight and stay in the fight. Yeah I believe Planned Parenthood ... we can't, we can't do this without Planned Parenthood," said Jones."
Planned Parenthood supporters argue allowing them back in makes good financial sense. It's claimed - by providing preventative care the organization saved the state nearly $700-million in Medicaid cost between 2007 and 2011.