Travis County Commissioners Court approves Planned Parenthood resolution

The Travis County Commissioners Court approved a resolution in support of continued participation of Planned Parenthood in the state's Medicaid program during its Dec. 15 meeting.

The vote was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Gerald Daugherty opposed and Commissioner Ron Davis abstaining.

About 5.72 percent of Planned Parenthood's patients in Travis County are Medicaid patients, according to the county. The nonprofit health care provider first began offering services in Travis County in 1937. In 2014, its health centers served 20,738 men, women and teens in the area, according to the county.

Planned Parenthood provides birth control, abortions, breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, and treatment for other health issues.

Commissioners Brigid Shea and Margaret Gomez as well as County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said they support the organization’s efforts.

“There are a lot of women and men and children who don’t have the resources to get the screenings and the health care that they need, and so Planned Parenthood really covers a large area of health issues that people need,” Gomez said.

Daugherty said he supported much of the resolution but does not support abortion, an issue that he said divides elected officials on their support of the agency.

“[Planned Parenthood] is a great organization," Daugherty said. "I just wish that we could separate that one part so that all of us could really find a way to send the message. I don’t know of a person that wouldn’t support women’s health.”

Eckhardt said the vote was an emotional one for the court’s members.

“My daughter and my son will stand on our shoulders [for] what we decide now, today,” Eckhardt said before the vote. “I hope we will at least provide them Planned Parenthood as a safe and affordable place to access reproductive services.”