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Health & Science

Questions Arise Over Women’s Health Grant For Anti-Abortion Activist

Critics want to know why the money didn’t go to a more established provider.


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After the state's previous women's health program excluded Planned Parenthood it lost millions in federal money. Texas then set up its own initiative.

That new program has just given out a round of grants, and its second-largest grant has been getting lots of attention. That's the $1.6 million awarded to the Heidi Group. It's a non-profit in Round Rock that's headed by a well-known anti-abortion activist.

Director Carol Everett maintains her group is not about ideology. She says they'll use money from the program to help poor women find health care in underserved rural areas. They plan to use a network of about 25 providers.

"Now that they've changed it so that no abortion providers or affiliates can be part of it, all of a sudden they're attacking us because we're the second-largest grant in the state," says Everett. "And because I've had a high profile in the life movement."

But Stacey Pogue with the Center for Public Policy Priorities questions why the Heidi Group got such a large award, considering most of the grants went to established health-care organizations.

"This contractor stood out as an awardee that doesn't have yet a healthcare infrastructure and doesn't, as far as I know, have any expertise in providing family planning services," says Pogue.

State officials say the Healthy Texas Women program will have about three times the number of providers as the old one. But Planned Parenthood charges that the state is passing over clinics with a proven heathcare record so it can promote an anti-abortion agenda.