Abortion providers are criticizing more than $1.6 million in state funding that was allocated to the Texas pro-life Heidi Group.

The Heidi Group, a conservative, Christian nonprofit health group, organizes crisis pregnancy centers and outreach to poor Texas women "by coordinating services in a statewide network of full-service medical providers," about 25 of them in more than 60 counties.

The $1.6 million is part of the $18 million slated for the "Texas Healthy Women" program, which excludes Planned Parenthood as a health provider.

Well-known abortion providers such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood were not pleased.

"The Heidi Group is an anti-abortion organization; it is not a healthcare provider," said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas.

Busby argued that money should go to medical providers, not to "crisis pregnancy centers that already receive millions in state funding to coerce, shame and lie to Texans considering abortion care."

Jeffrey Hons, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood South Texas, called the money allotment "outrageous" and "lunacy."

"The state of Texas has a terrible record on women's health, making lousy decisions that have devastated women's access to birth control and shut down family planning clinics across the state," he said. "Now this same Texas leadership is giving $1.7 million in family planning money to an organization that has never provided family planning."

Sarah Wheat, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said no one should give "hard-earned tax dollars in support of their anti-abortion agenda."

The Heidi Group's proposal was "one of the most robust of any of those who applied for the grants," said Texas Health and Human Services Commission representative Byron Black.

"Texas Healthy Women" replaced the Medicaid waiver program, which Republican legislators in Texas ditched when the federal government would not allow them to boot Planned Parenthood off the program. Texas lost millions in federal healthcare dollars for poor women as a result, but the state did defund Planned Parenthood.

State health officials said the new program has about three times as many health providers as the old program. The new program's services include diagnosis and treatment for problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, immunizations, pregnancy tests and counseling.

Heidi Group founder and CEO Carol Everett worked at an abortion clinic before she "came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And after I came to Christ, I couldn't kill babies anymore."

She has since testified to Texas Legislature asking for tougher restrictions on abortion providers.

"I can honestly tell you that there is not 1 cent of rent in this for the Heidi Group," said Everett. "There's no administrative money, this is for direct services, for our outreach directors."

The Heidi Group received the second largest portion of the funds, behind Houston's Harris County public health department, which received $1.7 million.