Hearing on Planned Parenthood and Texas' Women's Health Program Pits Science, Health Against Ideology
Yesterday, in a packed auditorium at the Texas Department of State Health Services, legislators and supporters of Planned Parenthood in Texas gathered to speak out against proposed rules that would bar Planned Parenthood from participating in the state's Women's Health Program, through which PP-Texas has provided the lion's share of family planning services to low-income women. The new rules are fueled by right-wing lawmakers who want to forgo the available 90 percent of federal funding for the program in order to keep Planned Parenthood--and any other so-called "abortion affiliate"--from providing care via the WHP.
"This is not the better course for a program that is this important," Texas Sen. Kirk Watson told a panel of DSHS officials. Watson and a group of 24 other Democratic lawmakers requested the public hearing, with Watson calling out DSHS for a "lack of transparency" at yesterday's meeting. DSHS told RH Reality Check that they called the hearing at the request of lawmakers and also as the result of an online petition from Planned Parenthood supporters.
While a law banning abortion affiliates has been on the books in Texas since 2005, DSHS began enforcing the law this year, excluding the largest provider of WHP services in the state: Planned Parenthood.