Texas Axes Health Programs for Women


In the latest dispatch from the Republican war on Planned Parenthood, on Thursday the administration of Texas Gov. Rick Perry enacted a new rule banning state funds from going to any health center at all affiliated with anyone who offers abortions. The measure would effectively end the Women’s Health Program in the state, because federal law prohibits states from discriminating against specific providers in the allocation of Medicaid.

The Texas Tribune reports that the move bans Planned Parenthood clinics and other “affiliates of abortion providers” from taking part in the program:

The rule, signed by Commissioner Tom Suehs on Thursday, takes effect March 14. Unless some last-minute agreement is brokered, the program, which receives $9 in federal funds for every $1 in state funds, will be either phased out or cut off by the end of March. At least 130,000 poor Texas women will lose access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and contraception.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard said Perry has again “chosen politics over the lives of Texas women.” This isn’t the first time the Perry administration has cut women’s health programs; last year, the governor and legislature axed two-thirds of the budget for those programs, as NPR reported in September.

Fact:

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.