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Texas Launches Health Site For Low-Income Women

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Today Texas lawmakers unveiled a new website designed to connect women with health services around the state. Lawmakers say that in the past, accessing these programs wasn’t easy.

In 2013 the Texas Legislature passed rules that closed many abortion providers in the state. Advocates have noted that many of those clinics also provided women's health services. Now some Republican Texas lawmakers are trying to connect low-income women with healthcare.

HealthyTexasWomen.org is a web portal where women can find services like family planing, cervical cancer screenings, and mental health treatment. There aren’t any new services provided through the site. At a press conference today, Republican State Senator Jane Nelson from Flower Mound says it’s a one-stop-shop for programs that might have been hard to find before.

"One of the challenges that we identified is that because we have multiple programs with different eligibility guidelines, it is a real challenge for women to navigate our women’s health network," Nelson said.

Last month the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended that the Texas Health and Human Services agency undergo a massive overhaul. One of the critiques was that the women’s health programs waste resources and are unnecessarily complicated. Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek said the purpose of the site is to bring information to low-income women who were confused where to turn.

"You can have great programs and you can have tremendous things that happen behind the scenes but if the folks that are supposed to benefit from those programs find it difficult to access them what have you accomplished?" Janek said.

A non-profit called The Empowerment Project, headed up by former Republican State Representative Brian McCall, raised about $85,000 to create the site as a gift to the state.