Texas Screws Over 100,000 Low-Income Women Just to Snub Planned Parenthood
Texas legislators are so hell-bent on defunding Planned Parenthood that they are willing to toss out a crucial program providing reproductive health care to 130,000 thousand low-income in the process.
Last year, the Texas legislature passed a law making it illegal for the state to provide Medicaid funds to any organization that is even affiliated with one that provides abortions. That means that even the many Planned Parenthood clinics that don’t offer abortions at all would be denied funding to provide contraception, cancer screenings, and basic preventive health care through the state’s Women’s Health Program. As it did when Indiana and other states pulled the same stunt, the Obama administration cried foul, saying that the rule violates federal law and warning Texas that it could lose its $40 million federal grant for the program.
On Wednesday, the Texas health commissioner signed the law regardless of the detrimental consequences--in fact they're forcing a confrontation with the administration.
Now the GOP legislators who bent over backwards to defund Planned Parenthood, slashed the family planning budget by two-thirds last year, and have been utterly unapologetic about their true aims, are spinning it lik ethey’re the ones who are concerned about poor women’s health. A spokesperson for Gov. Perry said, “The Obama Administration is trying to force Texas to violate our own state laws or they will end a program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women.”
As Augusta Christensen wrote on Lawsonry, the confrontational politics do in fact leave Obama administration in a difficult position:
If the administration caves and allows Texas to keep receiving Medicaid funding for this program, Planned Parenthood will still lose funding in Texas. In that scenario, some Texas branches of the organization would likely be forced to close, making health care access to women harder. On top of that, the precedent would be set that states can refuse to comply with federal laws while still receiving federal money – it is a precedent that Obama can little afford as attacks of his ability to lead firmly continue to fly from the Republican contenders for president
Christensen summed up the fight well when she said that while 30,000 women losing health care "seems like it should be a bargaining chip against anti-choice extremists in Texas’s legislature, those delegates have made it clear that they simply do not care about reproductive health care."