Members of Planned Parenthood protest outside Abbott's mansion

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Photo Credit: Tess Cagle | Daily Texan Staff

Since last Thursday, members of Planned Parenthood have been and plan to continue protesting outside the Governor's Mansion against a bill that, they claim, hurts women’s preventive cancer screenings — particularly for low-income women and women of color.

Tess Cagle | Daily Texan Staff

Two cancer survivors who received life-saving screenings through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services in Dallas joined 20-year-old activist Sadie Hernandez and other members of Planned Parenthood on Monday  to protest the proposition.

A couple of months ago, Hernandez said she was handing out flyers to protest a bill that dealt with sex workers when she learned about the cuts of cancer screening for women.

“When I finished doing that, Katy [Waters-Cofer, community outreach specialist at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas] told me they were trying to reduce access to early breast and cervical cancer screenings here for women in Texas, particularly low-income women and women of color,” Hernandez said.

Tess Cagle | Daily Texan Staff

Hernandez said Planned Parenthood started the “Save Our Screenings” campaign, but, by the time the session ended and the budget was passed, the program was excluded from being a provider of the service.  She said the decision was shocking because of the severity of cancer, but, after a while, the lawmakers finally made themselves clear.    

“First, they said they were just appropriating the funds to other clinical providers,” Hernandez said.  “Then they were just going to give the funding to places that were part of the Women’s Health Program in Texas.  But in 2011, they specifically excluded Planned Parenthood from that program — so the only one excluded from this is Planned Parenthood.”

Currently, the bill is scheduled for signing June 21, but the group knows Abbott can sign it earlier, Hernandez said.

“The last news I got was that it was in the comptroller's office about two days ago,” Hernandez said.  “We haven’t gotten any word that he’s had it, but [Abbott] can sign it when he gets it.”