DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
BURNET — Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) made it clear Aug. 14 that he’ll do whatever he can to curtail federal funding of Planned Parenthood while voicing his support of organizations such as the Highland Lakes Pregnancy Resource Center.
“It’s unbelievable that we have to even talk about this,” Williams said while meeting with representatives of the HLPRC. “We’re talking about future generations of this country — of this world.”
Williams, who has always opposed abortion, reiterated his stance against funding organizations, especially Planned Parenthood, that provide the procedure after several videos came to light the past month alleging that Planned Parenthood might make money off body parts of aborted fetuses.
Planned Parenthood officials have denied this accusation and said the tapes were heavily edited to shock and deceive people.
The videos, however, have invigorated abortion opponents.
Williams said he is working on a plan to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, which is about $528 million.
Federal law prohibits federal money to be used to provide abortions, so Planned Parenthood must use the federal money for other services it provides to women, men and teens such as health screenings, vaccines and those for sexual and reproductive health.
But that hasn’t stopped those opposed to abortion to try and cut off all federal funding to the organizations.
During his stop in Burnet, where he met with representatives of the HLPRC, he commended the center’s efforts to help women. Williams, the father of two daughters, pointed out his fight against abortion isn’t a fight against women but an effort to save the lives of unborn children.
Waynette Stewart of the HLPRC said the center tries to get women to see all their options, especially adoption.
“When they come into our center, we really try to educate them,” Stewart said. “One of the things we’ve seen is very few really understand that adoption is available.”
This includes open adoptions in which the birth mother can still have a role in the child’s life. Since the center opened in 2009, officials said they know of only three women who came through the doors who went on to have an abortion. Most, if they are contemplating that option, find a different road.
Even if a woman decides to have an abortion or has had one in the past, the center provides peer counseling and other services to assist them.
And not all the women who come thorough the center are considering abortion or adoption; some just need assistance in parenting, relationships or health care. The center offers a list of services and also provides referrals to other agencies. Other ways the HLPRC helps by providing families with maternity and baby items.
HLPRC executive director Jessica McRee-Grabert explained one of the center’s missions is building relationships with the women, and even men, who arrive at one of the two offices.
“We really establish relationships with the women,” she said. “And we don’t stop when they have the baby; we stay with them.”
Stewart said most women who come to the HLPRC for assistance are between the ages of 20 and 24.
“We do have women services, and nobody gets hurt,” Stewart said. “We know life begins at conception.”
After a meeting with the HLPRC officials, Williams spoke before a crowd at the Sylvester H. Reed Memorial Building in Burnet. With the HLPRC staff and several board members around him, Williams again pledged he would work to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
He added that he didn’t see a reason that $528 million or some of it couldn’t go to organizations such as the HLPRC that provide women’s health services without abortions.
“Organizations like this are what members of Congress should be rooting for,” Williams said regarding the HLPRC.
Go to hlpregnancycenter.org for more information on the organization and its services.