For the better part of a decade now, anti-choice activists and Republican politicians have been pushing the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood. Anti-choicers like to claim that these attacks are about abortion, which is at best peripherally true. Government money never pays for abortions at Planned Parenthood, only for contraception and other non-abortion services. In order to “prove” that the assaults on Planned Parenthood are not a covert effort to deprive women of contraception and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases, right-wing activists and politicians have taken to claiming that the family planning services offered by Planned Parenthood can easily be replaced with public clinics, private doctors and other programs.
In some cases, anti-choicers like to argue that “crisis pregnancy centers” — facilities set up to resemble abortion clinics, in hopes of luring in poorly-informed pregnant women and pressure them not to have abortions — could step up and fill the holes left by defunding and shuttering the nation’s largest women’s health organization. In 2012, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (now Donald Trump’s energy secretary) attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for one such center, touting it as a place low-income women could go for reproductive health care now that the state had cut Planned Parenthood funding from its family planning program.
This argument that crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) could take Planned Parenthood’s money and effectively replace its family planning services, got put to the test in Texas. The Heidi Group was granted $5 million in family planning funds by the state to provide health care for 17,000 women in 2017, even though its leader, Carol Everett, is so ignorant about sexual health care that she once argued that abortion clinics could contaminate the water supply with sexually transmitted diseases.
To the surprise of nearly no one outside the Texas Republican…