Insurance navigators will be at Resource Center on Saturday

GetCoveredResource Center teams with Planned Parenthood and Get Covered America to provide healthcare insurance assistance on Saturday at the Resource Center.

Navigators will help anyone needing help find a policy that is complaint with the Affordable Care Act.

Andrew Greenberg, coordinating the event for Get Covered America, said the navigators will help find insurance through the marketplace or direct people to Medicare or Medicaid, if they qualify.

Those covered at work who do not qualify for federal subsidies for their insurance, but have a partner taking advantage of DP benefits may qualify for a subsidy and receive comparable benefits at a lower out-of-pocket price.

Bring the following information:

If you desire to speak with a navigator, please bring the following:

• Birth certificate or U.S. passport

• Photo ID (driver’s license, state ID card, military ID card, school ID card)

• Social Security card

• Proof of income (paystub, income tax return, letters from Social Security)

• Employer insurance information (if applicable)

The event takes place at Resource Center, 2701 Reagan St. on Feb. 15, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Anyone who can’t attend or has additional questions about the event may contact Andrew Greenberg at 972-345-4591 or by email.

—  David Taffet

Komen CEO Nancy Brinker hosts fundraiser for gay-rights group

Nancy Brinker

Since announcing she was leaving her post as CEO, Susan G. Komen Foundation founder Nancy Brinker has been spending some of her time on other causes such as gay rights.

According to the Washington Post, Brinker hosted a reception for Lambda Legal at her home in Georgetown with her son Eric, 37, who is gay.

“Having the most supportive mom in the world, I didn’t have to twist her arm very hard to get her involved,” Eric Brinker said.

And until the Planned Parenthood controversy last year, supporting the LGBT community was apparent in Komen’s distribution of funds. When Resource Center Dallas expanded its health programming beyond AIDS and created a women’s health program, Komen provided the first grant — which was also the Dallas-based foundation’s first grant to an LGBT organization.

Between 2007 and 2011, Komen funded 30 lesbian breast-health projects around the country.

But after the Komen Foundation cut off grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, there was alarm in the lesbian community. Evidence suggests lesbians are more prone to breast cancer than heterosexual women and many lesbians get their health care through Planned Parenthood, which provides gynecological services to women without insurance.

The cuts to Planned Parenthood came after Brinker hired Karen Handel as senior vice president for public policy. Handel ran for governor of Georgia on a right-wing and homophobic platform. So the fear was Komen would target all lesbian health programs next.

But her son, speaking publicly of being gay for the first time, told the Washington Post that his mother had always been supportive of him.

—  David Taffet

How’s abstinence-only working out for TX?

March 2012 protest against Gov. Rick Perry refusing federal money for Planned Parenthood.

A new study was released by the Centers for Disease Control ranking states for teen pregnancy rates. The states with the lowest rates — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut — are also states with marriage equality. Next in line is New Jersey, one of the first civil union states. States with the newest marriage equality laws — New York, Washington and Maryland — ranked ninth, 11th and 13th for the lowest teen pregnancy rates. Iowa was four places behind Maryland.

Texas didn’t win the prize for highest teen pregnancy rate — or having the most heterosexually active teens who were taught abstinence only in public schools. That distinction goes to the state’s perennial competitor for top ranking in areas like fewest insured, highest divorce rate and worst schools — Mississippi.

In fact, Texas ranked only as the fourth-highest teen pregnancy state. In addition to Mississippi, New Mexico and Arkansas also had higher rates. But Texas did beat out No. 5 Oklahoma. Really? We can’t do better than Oklahoma in preventing teen pregnancy? Well, no. Not the state taking the lead in depriving Planned Parenthood of funding and the city with the organization that thinks breast cancer is a political rather than a health issue.

The difference isn’t insignificant between top and bottom states. The rate of teen pregnancies in New Hampshire is 15.7 per 1,000 teenage girls. The Texas rate  is 52.2 pregnancies — more than three times the number of teen pregnancies than New Hampshire per thousand.

So is there a correlation between same-sex marriage and low teen pregnancy rates? Probably. States where heterosexuals are secure enough about their own sexuality pass marriage equality laws. In states where people are comfortable with sexuality, they teach it in school and teach teens to not get pregnant. In states like Texas, we teach abstinence only. Three times as many teens ignore that lesson compared to states that teach sexuality without encouraging teens to partake.

After the jump is the complete list with the rankings:

—  David Taffet

Gov. Rick Perry brought down the house at the Gridiron Dinner, so why are we not laughing?

Gov. Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sure is popular in Washington among reporters after his appearance at the annual Gridiron Dinner. In fact, the governor did so well that reporters are fawning all over him and talking about how he revived his career and made everything OK.

He did have some great one-liners.

In what was probably not a self-conscious reference to Glen Maxey’s book alleging Perry is a closeted homosexual, one of the governor’s one-liners was: “I like Mitt Romney as much as one really good looking man can like another really good looking man under Texas law.”

Arianna Huffington’s favorite Perry line was, in a reference to the governor’s major at Texas A&M, “Animal husbandry is what Santorum thinks happens after gay marriage.”

But are great one-liners a reason to elect Perry president or re-elect him governor? The Dallas Morning News seems to think so.

The DMN called the Perry performance “star caliber” and asked whether this 10-minute speech could be the silver bullet that turns his national image around.

That’s something I’d expect from out-of-state media that don’t really cover Perry. The best part of Perry’s speech was that he wasn’t at home doing damage. Ask the 130,000 women who are going to lose their healthcare next month because Perry doesn’t want Planned Parenthood to provide the gynecological exams and mammograms they could not otherwise afford. Glad he got some laughs, but I doubt many of these women are laughing.

And did we ever figure out how to fund Texas public schools? I know we didn’t tap the Rainy Day Fund and certainly no taxes were raised. Yup, lots of laughs, and Perry’s a hit. Unfortunately, Texas school children will have to suffer. Interesting that it’s the gay paper with nary a school child among us that has to point those things out.

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Sen. Wendy Davis talks fire-bombing, Planned Parenthood with Rachel Maddow

Wendy Davis

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Wednesday night in response to the fire-bombing of her office in Fort Worth Tuesday afternoon.

While initially thought to be an attack because her recent media attention for condemning the Senate’s cuts to women’s healthcare and Planned Parenthood, Fort Worth police believe a 40-year-old homeless man who was arrested for the alleged fire-bombing was not mentally stable as he allegedly rambled about aliens during his arrest.

Davis, an avid supporter for LGBT rights who authored a fully-inclusive anti-bullying bill last year, has also been a strong proponent for women’s healthcare. She has recently been vocal at protests against the decision to exclude financial funding to Planned Parenthood, a provider she relied on when she was a low-income teenage mom.

After Texas cut the women’s healthcare budget from $110 million to $37 million in the last legislative session, Gov. Rick Perry announced Texas will no longer receive federal funds for the Women’s Health Program, which 130,000 Texas women rely on annually. The decision was the result of the legislature not being allowed to exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving funds.

Davis was not present at the office at the time of the fire-bombing and was held for four hours on lockdown in her law office in downtown Fort Worth Tuesday evening. She told Maddow while the attack does not appear to be politically motivated, the incident reminded her of the risk elected officials face when they speak out about heated topics.

“It certainly reminds us how venerable we are in the public arena and that we have to take extra care and caution in making sure that we’re as safe as we can be,” Davis said.

Watch the interview below.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

—  Anna Waugh

Planned Parenthood official urges WHP clients to schedule appointments before funding cutoff

Cecile Richards

To exclude Planned Parenthood from receiving any state funds, Gov. Rick Perry says Texas will stop accepting federal money for the Women’s Health Program.

The federal government contributes 90 percent of the funding for the program for low-income women. The governor said he will replace that money — about $30 million — with existing state funds.

According to Kelly Hart, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of North Texas, although the rule goes into effect today, PPNT was told it will be reimbursed through April 30.

“So call and schedule to get your annual now while you can,” Hart said.

Planned Parenthood national President Cecile Richards was in Dallas last weekend for a protest against the cuts.

The program affected, the Women’s Health Program, is for women 18–45 who are not on Medicaid, but would be if they become pregnant. It covers about 130,000 women a year in Texas.

Hart said there would be a huge cost to the state if these women become pregnant and that Texas already spends more than $2 billion a year on Medicaid births.

—  David Taffet

Komen controversy alarms LGBT health orgs

Dallas-based breast cancer agency funds many gay-related projects, centers; some leaders fear cuts after Planned Parenthood decision

SAYING GOODBYE  |  Karen Handel, shown waving to supporters during her 2010 Georgia gubernatorial campaign, resigned Feb. 7 as senior vice president for public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (Associated Press)

SAYING GOODBYE  | Karen Handel, shown waving to supporters during her 2010 Georgia gubernatorial campaign, resigned Feb. 7 as senior vice president for public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure. (Associated Press)

DANA RUDOLPH  |  Keen News Service

As the dust settles on the controversy over a decision by the nation’s largest organization fighting breast cancer to withdraw grants from the nation’s largest provider of services regarding reproduction, the LGBT community is taking stock of the damage and the potential damage.

Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced Jan. 31 that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood. Then, four days later, after being hit with a harsh public backlash, it reversed that decision. But the controversy has raised questions about the relationship between politics and philanthropy, and about whether LGBT health services could be the next to see their funds cut.

In response to a request for comment about LGBT health services, Komen’s media office said, “We are not doing media interviews at this time.”

Komen’s relationships with LGBT health organizations are long-standing and extensive. The Komen website lists more than 30 grants in total for LGBT-related breast health projects between 2007 and 2011. And Komen and its local affiliates help fund many major LGBT health centers, including the Mautner Project, a national lesbian health organization; the Howard Brown Health Center (Chicago); Lyon-Martin Health Services (San Francisco); the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (New York City); the LGBT Community Center (New York City); Fenway Health (Boston), and the Mazzoni Center (Philadelphia).

Komen said it withdrew the Planned Parenthood funding because it has a policy of not funding organizations under congressional investigation.

Last fall, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., began an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood has illegally used federal money to fund abortion services. Stearns has long been known for his anti-abortion views. And many suspected Komen’s decision was less motivated by the “investigation” than for the politics, and they said so, loudly. Their suspicions were made all the stronger because Komen had hired Karen Handel as its senior vice president for public policy last April. Handel, during her unsuccessful run for Georgia governor in 2010, had promised to defund Planned Parenthood in that state, if elected. Handel also stated during her campaign that she opposed same-sex marriage, domestic partner health benefits and gay adoption. By Feb. 7, Handel had resigned from Komen, citing the controversy. But some have argued since then that Handel was just a symptom of the Komen board and CEO, Nancy Brinker, who hired her.

Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, the largest LGBT community organization in the country, was one of the first to issue a statement on Feb. 1, saying Komen “has stunningly decided to shun its mission by siding with right-wing extremists rather than with low income women — including large numbers of lesbians and transgender women — at risk of breast cancer.” Many other groups and individuals criticized Komen’s decision, too, some vowing to withhold contributions and participation in Komen’s highly popular “Race for the Cure” events.

Liz Margolies, executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, said her group has never received Komen funding but said the defunding of Planned Parenthood would have been “a blow to the health of the LGBT community.” LGBT people, she said, experience “increased obstacles in accessing care and difficulty finding culturally competent providers,” along with lower rates of health insurance coverage. Planned Parenthood filled this gap for many LGBT people.

The Komen controversy raised additional concerns about future funding for LGBT health services.

The Mautner Project, a national lesbian health organization, currently has a $200,000, two-year grant from the central Komen organization’s National Capital Area Grants Program in Washington, D.C. The money forms approximately 10 percent of Mautner’s total budget. Leslie Calman, executive director of the Mautner Project, said in an interview that Komen has been an “extremely generous donor.” Mautner received a $500,000, two-year, capacity-building grant between 2008 and 2010 that “saved the Mautner Project” when it had been in danger of going under, she said.

In Chicago, Howard Brown Health Center received a $75,000 grant from Komen’s local affiliate in 2010 to support its Breast Health Awareness Peer Educator Project, “designed to encourage breast health conversation and education among sexual minority women of color over 40.”

Cindi Creager, a spokesperson for New York City’s LGBT Community Center, said the Center has received “varying levels of funding” from Komen Greater NYC since 2004, most recently, an $80,000 grant in 2010. The Center has a grant application pending for 2012.

Nurit Shein, executive director of the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, said her center has received $30,000 this year from Komen’s Philadelphia affiliate to do “education, clinical breast exams, and referrals to mammograms,” and has received similar grants for several years.

Wendy Stark, executive director of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City, said the Komen affiliate has funded that Center for over 10 years. Dr. Anita Radix, director of research and education at Callen-Lorde, sits on Komen’s National Multicultural Advisory Board. Among other things, Komen money supports the “very critical position” of a case manager in women’s health at Callen-Lorde. “We’ve found them to be very supportive of LGBT health,” said Stark.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has not received grants from Komen, but Jim Key, chief public affairs officer for the Center, said that, even though Komen reversed its decision regarding Planned Parenthood, the L.A. Center still “[finds] it distressing that the foundation was so willing to play politics at the expense of vital services such as breast cancer screenings.”

“If pro-choice organizations are first, we can’t help but wonder if LGBT organizations are next,” he said.

Nurit Shein in Philadelphia agreed, saying that Komen’s hiring of the anti-gay Handel made her wonder, “Are lesbians next?” after the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Shein also sits on Komen’s National Multicultural Advisory Board, which addresses issues of the LGBT community, among others. She said in an interview that she has been “sharing our disappointment and concerns” with Komen officials about the controversy. But she said the situation also indicates a “disconnect” between Komen’s local affiliates and its national headquarters. The Philadelphia affiliate “has been a true partner with us,” she asserted.

In Massachusetts, the state Komen affiliate in 2011 funded the annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch at Boston’s Fenway Health. Audre Lorde was a lesbian activist and writer who died in 1992 from breast cancer.

Boston’s Fenway Health Center spokesperson Philip Finch said, “We’d certainly be receptive to their funding it in the future, as long as they have policies which are supportive of women and women’s health,” such as the policy to fund Planned Parenthood again.

In a statement Feb. 3, Komen’s Brinker said, “We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.” She added that Komen will amend its grantmaking criteria “to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political.”

And the Maunter Project’s Calman said Komen had been “scrupulously apolitical” until the Planned Parenthood defunding, even though Brinker is a Republican and served as a presidential appointee under President George W. Bush. Calman noted that Mollie Williams, Komen’s managing director of community health programs, who resigned in protest at the defunding of Planned Parenthood, sits on the Mautner Project Technical Advisory Council and has been “a good friend to the Mautner Project.”

Calman said she had been “alarmed and dismayed” at Komen’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood, and characterized it as “a huge misstep.” But she said that, going forward, she looks forward to “continued support” from Komen.

Shein of Philadelphia said she would like to hear “a stronger statement” from Komen about “mixing politics and philanthropy,” but is “glad” the national organization reversed its decision.

Creager, of New York’s LGBT Community Center, said the center will continue to “pay attention to new developments,” but added, “We hope and believe Komen will continue to address the needs of LBT people with breast cancer by continuing to partner with the Center and other LGBT organizations.”

The situation with Planned Parenthood may even have made that more likely. The L.A. Center’s Key noted that, “Komen knows the world is watching — and there will be an immediate outcry over any decision that prioritizes politics over lives.

© 2012 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Planned Parenthood exec reacts to Komen controversy

N. Texas CEO Ken Lambrecht says he hopes to convince Nancy Brinker to rejoin group’s advisory council

lambrechtstein

PLANNED PARENTS | Ken Lambrecht, left, and his partner, Ken Stein, along with their daughter Samantha moved to Dallas last year when Lambrecht became president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Texas. (Photo courtesy of Ken Lambrecht)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Ken Lambrecht said he often has to come out twice — first when he tells people he’s gay, and next when he tells them he’s the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Texas.

But Lambrecht said having a gay man head a predominantly women’s healthcare organization is a good match.

“It’s an organization that’s all about equality and access for disenfranchised individuals to quality healthcare,” he said. “So for me, it was a natural fit.”
His only comments about the recent Susan G. Komen controversy are gracious.

“Nancy Brinker [the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure] was on the North Texas Planned Parenthood Advisory Council,” he said, adding that he wants to meet with her soon to see if he can get her back on his board. “We have a lot of bipartisan support for our mission here in North Texas. We have a great number of Republican and Democratic supporters who understand that women’s healthcare and social issues should not be politicized.”

His only other reference to the controversy was to thank the many donors who poured money into Planned Parenthood over the last two weeks. But he clearly understands why his organization is controversial.

“I believe there will always be a perception of controversy around Planned Parenthood because we talk about issues that we were told societally not to talk about,” he said.

“Don’t talk about sex,” he said. “Don’t talk about politics. Don’t talk about religion. And don’t talk about money. And all I do all day is talk openly about the science of sex, talk about political influences against sexual health or sexual identity, speak about religious attacks on individual sexual expression and sexual identity, and then we ask people for money. So there will always be a perception of controversy around Planned Parenthood because we talk about everything we were told not to.”

And that’s been true since the organization was founded in New York 95 years ago by Margaret Sanger, a public health nurse whose mother died in childbirth. Sanger coined the term birth control and opened the first clinic that eventually led to a Supreme Court case that legalized contraception.

Planned Parenthood has provided healthcare in Dallas since 1935 and in Fort Worth since 1938 and its beginnings here were no less controversial.

Lambrecht said that among the Dallas founders was Catherine Ripley. Her family manufactured Ripley Shirts in Oak Cliff since 1920.

Ripley would send empty shirt boxes to New York, and Sanger would return them filled with condoms and diaphragms. The 1873 Comstock Act made it a federal crime to send any “obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious” materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information on abortion.

Lambrecht describes Planned Parenthood as a “sexual health provider and a gynecology office for women without insurance.”

He said that 97 percent of the services provided are preventive in nature and noted, “We provide more adoptions than abortions.”

Abortion, he said, is actually done by a different legal entity. That was something Texas required in 2005 under legislation that bars the state from funding any agency that performs abortions. So he assures anyone making donations to Planned Parenthood that the money can’t be used for abortions.

Surgical services such as vasectomies and abortions are provided by Planned Parenthood Surgical Health Services. And abortions are performed at only two centers in North Texas, while medical services are provided at 21 clinics in 13 counties across the region.

A donation to Planned Parenthood is going directly to health services such as gynecological exams, HIV testing, birth control, pap smears and mammography.

Mammography is not done in the office, but by referral often in a mobile mammography unit that comes to the office. However, the money Komen gives to Planned Parenthood is used to pay for those breast exams through a voucher. Over the last three years, PPNT paid for 1,700 screenings that found 10 cancers. “That’s 10 lives saved,” he said, adding this was a direct result of the partnership between his organization and Komen.

Lambrecht said most gynecologists don’t have their own mammography equipment — mostly because of the cost — and refer out the screenings.

Throughout the U.S., Planned Parenthood sees 3 million patients a year. Last year, 87,000 of those were in North Texas.

Lambrecht believes that nationally Planned Parenthood will continue to receive widespread support because one in five women has received services from the organization at some time in their lives.

He said a bigger story than the Komen controversy is the Catholic bishops fighting the Obama administration over the birth control mandate in healthcare reform.

“All women, regardless of their employer, should have access to birth control,” he said. “The vast majority of Americans recognize that birth control access is preventive health care and planning is essential. We encourage the White House to stand with women and keep birth control without a co-pay for women.”

He said most women spend 35 years trying to avoid a pregnancy and five years trying to get pregnant.

He said that everyone is welcomed at Planned Parenthood without any judgment — and that includes transgender men and women who need any sort of gynecological services. He pointed to the staff as an indication of the organization’s diversity. Of the 80 regional CEOs, he said eight are gay or lesbian, and his staff of 200 includes transgender as well as gay and lesbian employees.

“We’re the most pro-family, pro-LGBT, pro-diversity organization,” he said.

Lambrecht and his partner, Ken Stein, have been together 11 years and have a 10-year-old daughter, Samantha. Before moving to Dallas last year, they lived in Austin in what Lambrecht called a very suburban community.

When Lambrecht took the job in Dallas, they moved to Oak Lawn. One day when he and his daughter were walking to Eatzi’s, she asked him, “Daddy, why is everyone in Dallas gay?”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Why Planned Parenthood funding is LGBT issue

Agency under attack by right wing is about more than abortions

Phyllis Guest

PHYLLIS GUEST | Contributing columnist

Bernard Baruch said it first in the 1940s; Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger shortened it in the 1970s, and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan phrased it most succinctly in the 1980s: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Apparently, many Americans have not heard — or have not agreed with — that simple statement.

Consider, for example, current efforts in Washington, D.C., and nationwide to defund Planned Parenthood.

The efforts made news when, on April 8, Arizona Republican Jon Kyle announced on the floor of the Senate that abortions comprise “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

The organization countered that abortions are only 3 percent of the organization’s services. Kyle’s staff asserted that his remark “was not intended to be a factual statement” and then edited the Congressional Record to say that abortion is simply “what Planned Parenthood does.”

Back in Austin for Easter recess, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas picked up Kyle’s theme. On April 20, Cornyn assured The Texas Tribune’s Emily Ramshaw that “he’s been told 98 percent of the services Planned Parenthood offers to pregnant women are abortion-related.” His staff added that the senator would not join “the nickel tour at any Planned Parenthood centers.”

Take that, you sinners.

In fact, the latest figures — from 2010 — show that Planned Parenthood of North Texas provided 6,000 abortions, 43,000 pap smears and many more thousands of low-cost screenings for cancer and other deadly ailments.

In addition, PPNT provides sexual and general health services for men and women for modest, fixed charges.

So why should any of this interest those of us in the local LGBTQA community? Think children’s well-being, sex education and tax rates. All are intertwined.

Start with the well-being of children. On April 7, State Attorney General Greg Abbott and former first lady Laura Bush announced an effort to recruit more volunteers for the Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. Their plea is urgent — because Texas now has 42,000 children in its foster care system. Those 42,000 children were unwanted at birth or have been abused or abandoned since.

Many Texas politicians consider members of our community who might like to foster or adopt them unworthy. Yet few if any of our oh-so-righteous pols have stepped up to adopt or even advocate for these children.

Next, consider sex — sex education, that is.

In Texas, most notably in the public schools, sex ed is either all about abstinence or altogether absent. Thus, countless Texans lack basic information on contraceptive options. They cannot choose the best protection for themselves and their partners.

Small wonder Texas has so many teenage mothers and leads the nation in teens with two or more offspring. Rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young Texans also are startlingly high — and even higher among some minority groups.

Our state’s macho tradition may even encourage unprotected sex.

Finally, take the issue of how tax dollars are spent in Texas.

Unless conservatives come up with enlightened ways to lift “the least of these our brethren” out of poverty, which they seem disinclined to do, some tax dollars will go towards basic services for the poor.

An estimated 60 percent of Texas mothers are so impoverished that physicians and hospitals must compete for scarce Medicaid dollars to fund prenatal care and delivery. Many families rely on the state’s meager Temporary Assistance to Needy Families — about $260 a month — for basic foodstuffs. Texas public schools provide lunch and often breakfast so children will not spend the day hungry and go home ill.

Keep in mind that Planned Parenthood, now almost a century old:

• Is prohibited by law from using tax dollars to fund abortions. Of course, money is fungible, but Congress never provides more than one-third of the dollars needed to give all low-income and uninsured persons access to contraceptives and sexual health care. There is no tax money to free up for abortions. Support for Planned Parenthood Surgical Health Services, the separate entity that performs abortions in North Texas, comes entirely from patient fees and private donations.

• Provides services without discrimination to persons of all races and ethnicities, young and old, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Here in North Texas, Planned Parenthood works with other nonprofits, including those most closely associated with the LGBT community, to assure the availability of confidential, low-cost testing and expert counseling for HIV/AIDS as well as all other STDs.

• Furnishes important support to LGBTs who are parents, parents of LGBT children, and LGBT children of all ages. For example, a recent workshop in Fort Worth was entitled “LGBT Issues — You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers.” Leading the workshop was a facilitator with an master’s degree in social work and years of experience spent teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on sexual health.

So an argument in support of Planned Parenthood is not an argument for abortion. It is simply an argument against ignorance.

Phyllis Guest lives in Dallas and is an activist on LGBT and other progressive issues.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs • 07.23.10

Resource Center Dallas receives MAZON grant for second year in a row

Officials at Resource Center Dallas announced this week that the center, for the second year in a row, has received an $8,000 national grant from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger in support of the center’s food and nutrition programs.

“This grant from MAZON provides critical financial support to our long-standing pantry and hot meals programs in these challenging economic times,” said Bret Camp, associate executive director for health and medical services at Resource Center Dallas. “Many of our clients live on a fixed income and are unable to work. The services we provide through these programs improve both their health and quality of life.”

Nutritional services are available through a food pantry as well as hot lunches at the center. The pantry, located at 5450 Denton Drive Cutoff, serves more than 800 clients Monday through Thursday. More than 100 clients a day, each Monday through Friday, eat at the center as part of the hot meals program.

ONE holding screening of HBO documentary ‘The Lazarus Effect’

ONE, a global advocacy and campaigning organization dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, will hold a screening of the HBO documentary “The Lazarus Effect,” on Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m. at the Progressive Center of Texas in South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar St. in Dallas.

C.U.R.E. will display panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the screening, and officials with Resource Center Dallas will conduct a discussion about the film after the screening.

Planned Parenthood’s Kelly Hart to be guest speaker at TDWCC meeting

Texas Democratic Women Collin County holds its next general meeting Monday, July 26. The meeting will be held at 6:45 p.m. at the  Founders Room of Shawnee Hall at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco.

Guest speaker will be Kelly Hart, executive director of Planned Parenthood of North Texas, who will discuss the health reform law and recent developments at the national level that pertain to women’s health.

There will also be a report from members who attended the Democratic State Convention in Corpus Christi.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 23, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas