The left-leaning nonprofit Progress Texas is asking the state auditor’s office to investigate a $1.6 million state contract awarded to an anti-abortion group under the state’s new Healthy Texas Women program.
The Heidi Group does not currently provide medical services or employ medical staff, but founder Carol Everett has said that her group will coordinate with medical providers in rural areas to provide contraception, cancer screenings and other services.
According to Progress Texas advocacy director Lucy Stein, that raises some red flags about whether the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) improperly awarded the funds to Everett’s group.
In its request for an investigation, Progress Texas notes that Everett serves on the Women’s Health Advisory Committee, which provides input to the state health department on the implementation of its retooled reproductive health care safety net. Texas has spent the last year or so reorganizing after anti-abortion lawmakers barred Planned Parenthood from receiving public funds, and the $18 million Healthy Texas Women program is the result.
Progress Texas questioned whether a group that until a few weeks ago operated with the stated mission of “helping girls and women with unplanned pregnancies make life-affirming choices” because abortion is “contrary to God’s will” could provide the medical services promised by the new program.
See here for the background. I can’t find the aforementioned statement anywhere, but Progress Texas does have this call to action on their webpage, along with a video introduction to Heidi Group founder Carol Everett. Any time a group with no experience in a particular field receives a grant to provide services in that field, there ought to be questions about how that happened. Add in the Heidi Group’s political advocacy and you can see the potential for shenanigans. I hope the auditor agrees to take a look at this.