A coalition of women's health clinics in Texas aims to bypass Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the Republican-dominated legislature by going directly to the federal government for the money.

The Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas is organizing the clinics, but the group hasn't said yet how many are on board. They have until December 31 to apply for the state's Title X funding, which amounts to about $14.5 million.

News of the forthcoming grant application was broken Monday by Texas Observer reporter Carolyn Jones, who noted that the grant could restore access to contraceptives for 90,000 Texans.

Republicans in Texas slashed family planning budgets dramatically in 2011, cutting them from $1211 million to about $38 million, leading to a massive reduction in the number of Texans receiving aid from Title X funds. The legislature also passed a bill banning any assistance for clinics that perform abortions or partner with abortion providers. That's caused dozens of women's health clinics around the state to shut down, in part because of the absence of Title X funding, but also because of the benefits and discounts Title X brings with it.

However, the bid is not assured: They'll also be competing with the Texas Department of Health Services, which has been receiving Title X funding since 1982. The federal government could decide to split up the grant, but the clinics are hoping to get all of it.

“If we’re not selected as the grantee, then the status quo continues," Fran Hagerty of the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas told the Observer. "The losses have already occurred. We’re at the bottom now. Things can only change for the better."


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