Texas Ethics Chair Investigates Anti-Abortion Group Contract

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP)Texas health officials say they’re taking a closer look at an anti-abortion group that received $1.6 million to bolster women’s health clinics but has fallen short of promises.

The Republican chairwoman of the state’s House general investigating and ethics committee is also demanding answers after The Associated Press reported this week that the Heidi Group has little to show for its efforts after eight months.

Republican state Rep. Sarah Davis on Thursday grilled state officials about the contract during a hearing in the Texas Capitol.

The Heidi Group is led by a prominent anti-abortion opponent and received taxpayer funds last summer to help clinics attract more low-income patients. It’s part of a broader Republican-led effort in Texas to give women alternatives to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

A recent review found the nonprofit had not helped clinics promote their services on Facebook, or aired any public service announcements as promised. It also hadn’t made good on plans to establish a 1-800 number to help women find providers or ensure that all clinics have updated websites.

Officials with Planned Parenthood said the failures show the risks of relying on unproven providers to serve low-income women, and that Republicans’ assurances about adequate care are only political rhetoric.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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