Brief: Fund Life-Affirming Choices

January 26, 2019

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A Catholic perspective:

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops supports increased funding to abortion alternatives for expectant parents. As Pope Benedict wrote, “Children truly are the family’s greatest treasure and most precious good.”[1] Yet parents are sometimes troubled or burdened with the news that they are expecting a child. We should understand more about their daily struggle so that we can effectively help them care for their families and thereby become witnesses of moral strength for us all.[2]

Texans and Catholics have a duty to help families make life-affirming choices, and we cannot ignore the circumstances under which a woman may be pressured to have an abortion.[3] Circumstances such as abuse, poverty, and lack of support must be included in the conversation when discussing pro-life legislation. We support programs intended to remedy those circumstances, as well as promote adoption as a legitimate option for families who cannot care for their children.

[1] Pope Benedict XVI, Address at a Meeting on Family and Life Issues in Latin America, December 3, 2005. Sec. 5.

[2] Pope Francis, General Audience. January 7, 2015.

[3] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Quaestio de abortu [Declaration on Procured Abortion], The Vatican. (November 18, 1974), Sec. 26.

[4] 79 RS SB 1 ENR. Page II-111; Texas Health and Human Services, Alternatives to Abortion. December 2017, page 6.


Texas law and policy:

Texas legislators established the Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) program in 2005 and currently operates using funds from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Revenue.[4] The Alternatives program contracts with two agencies providing support to new families, one of which is the Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN). TPCN is a network of adoption agencies, residential care facilities, pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), and social service providers. The network provides:

  • counseling and mentoring;
  • material goods such as car seats, clothes, diapers, and formula;
  • education regarding pregnancy and parenting;
  • maternity home support groups; and
  • referral to and enrollment in other social services.[5]

Eligibility is extended to any pregnant woman or adoptive parent for:

  • 3 years after birth;
  • 3 years after adoption, regardless of the child’s age; or
  • 90 days after miscarriage or the loss of a child.[6]

As a result, the TPCN continuity of care extends for 45 months.[7] In FY 2017-18, TPCN supported the work of 135 subcontractors in 218 of the state’s 254 counties, thereby serving in counties which account for 99 percent of Texas abortions.[8] As Figure 1 illustrates, saince its creation, TPCN has served a total of 219,073 women, adoptive parents, and other clients.[9] In maintaining and expanding the A2A program, Texas legislators show their strong dedication to supporting women, children, and families.

[5] Ibid., Alternatives to Abortion, page 3; TPCN, FY 2017-18 Annual Report to Health and Human Services Commission, FY 2017-18. Page 11.

[6] Ibid.

[7] TPCN, FY 2017-18 Annual Report. Page 2.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid. Page 8.

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