In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill blocking taxpayer dollars from being given to abortion facilities. Now it has come to light that the law will prevent state employees from donating to Planned Parenthood directly from their paychecks.
According to KUT 90.5, officials from the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton if the new law would prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving donations through the campaign. Last week, Paxton confirmed in a signed opinion that it does. He wrote that the law “prohibits the State Employee Charitable Campaign and its Policy Committee from entering into a taxpayer resource transaction with an abortion provider or an affiliate of an abortion provider” and that the campaign “constitutes a taxpayer resource transaction.”
Sarah Wheat, chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said that her office was notified by the SECC on Friday that they are no longer eligible for the program. She stated that Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas had been receiving about $180,000 a year from the SECC and that Planned Parenthood intends to fight the law.
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Dan Quinn, a spokesperson with the Texas Freedom Network, claimed that not allowing state employees to donate to Planned Parenthood directly through their paychecks “raises First Amendment concerns” and that the “state has no business regulating the charitable decisions employees make with their own money.”
However, according to the SECC website, there are charitable eligibility requirements for any organization that wishes to be included in the program and organizations must submit an application to be reviewed by the state policy committee. State employees can’t actually directly donate from their paychecks to any group they choose.
State employees can, however, donate money from their own banking accounts to any organization they like, including Planned Parenthood, which likely has ways to set up recurrent donations similar to those used by the SECC.
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