Rape crisis center in Plano will continue to receive city funding

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A rape crisis center in Plano will continue to receive city funding after it was almost cut because of a controversy surrounding emergency contraception.

There was a budget work session Saturday morning, where a solution was made.

Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill, is no longer the center of a funding debate between the city of Plano and the only rape crisis center in Collin County.

Now, the focus can return to helping sexual assault survivors.

“I was raped when I was 15 by my pastor at knifepoint in Dallas, and when I looked for help in Dallas, I found none,” sexual assault survivor Courtney Underwood said.

Underwood said her mission is to make sure no survivor is left without hope.

Which is why she shared her story Saturday morning at the Plano City Council budget work session. 

The mayor announced a proposal that would allow the Turning Point Rape Crisis Center to continue to receive $57,000 in city funding as long as it's used for counseling.

Earlier this month, that crucial funding was placed in question.

“I raised an issue of conscience about protecting the life of the unborn, while also wanting to ensure that sexual assault survivors get the counseling they need,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Ricciardelli said. “Today, I think we found a solution that accomplishes both of those things, so I’m very glad about that."

MORE: Plano councilmember questions city funding for rape crisis center

Ricciardelli, along with at least one other council member, brought up concerns over the center providing the Plan B pill.

They questioned whether that would cause them to be in violation of a new state law set to take effect Septemeber 1, which blocks public money from going to abortion providers and their affiliates.

The ACLU fired back by saying:” Plano City Council members clearly have a fundamental misunderstanding of how emergency contraception works.”

Some are left wondering whether this was all just politically motivated.

"They should have made more of an effort to understand exactly what the turning point does and how important it is. They also could have done more work in finding out about the consequences to rape victims," said Judy Dishong, with Women Organizing Women Democrats.

But the fact is, the crisis center does not use any city funding for Plan B.

Instead, it goes strictly toward recovery counseling, and must continue that way, according to the mayor's new proposal.

This same issue was also raised last year, and Underwood hopes it will now be put to rest.

"I can speak to the trauma and the pain and the effects of untreated PTSD, and tell you that no one should have to experience that, especially not our youth," she said.

The proposal now goes to the city manager.

The plan is to change the wording of the grant contract with the crisis center to include that funding must be used for counseling and any other administrative support.

On September 9, they plan to have a vote on this as a single item.