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Harris County wants to expand contraception in underserved communities due to Texas' trigger law

Harris County leaders want to expand contraception due to Texas' trigger law taking effect, making abortion in the state a felony.

HOUSTON, Texas — Harris County commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on a $6 million fund that will give people in underserved communities access to family planning methods, including health screenings and contraception.

The county is planning to use federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover the costs.

“The need for contraception is expected to continue to grow because of the abortion ban," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

County leaders stood alongside doctors at Planned Parenthood Tuesday, breaking down the funding and what it can do.

“This is about fulfilling the promises we made last year after that resolution when the Supreme Court reversed a constitutional right to abortion that people relied on and exercised for nearly 50 years," Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. 

Hidalgo says of the $6 million, $1 million will go to Harris County Public Health to expand their programs. The rest of the money would be used for program administration and grants that would be given to small providers in high-need communities.

“Those organizations are very, very small, and don’t have the funding to serve the need that’s out there. Sometimes, they do have the capacity, but communities are not aware that these services are available at low cost or no cost," Hidalgo said. 

Harris County Public Health provides free gynecologic exams in preparation for family planning. It also provides family planning counseling and contraception. All of its services are readily available to those in need. 

County Commissioners will vote on that funding Tuesday. If approved, that money should be distributed to those smaller organizations by the summer.

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