State Watch

Texas Planned Parenthood clinic to remain open despite state law aimed at closing it

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas, is set to remain open until 2039 despite a new state law that prevents local governments from doing business with the organization. 

A bill signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbot last week bars cities from certain transactions with abortion providers, including leases and sales, going into effect Sept. 1. 

The clinic, however, recently signed a 20-year lease extension with the city of Austin, which cannot be undone by the law, according to the Austin American-Statesman, which cited the Texas attorney general's office and the bill's author, state Sen. Donna Campbell (R).

Campbell called the $1 per year lease "a taxpayer subsidy totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions, going into the abortion industry" when she put forth the bill, the Austin newspaper reported. 

Austin officials have defended the lease, saying that the Planned Parenthood health center does not provide abortions but does provide care including contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and cancer screenings.

"It is imperative that the city of Austin and other governmental entities maintain the ability to meet the health care needs of their communities, and that's what Austin is doing," Mayor Steve Adler (D) reportedly said.