Texas Abortion: Women’s Health & Texas
March 11, 2012 by staff
Texas Abortion: Women’s Health & Texas, The federal government will stop funding a Texas health program that serves 130,000 low-income women because of a state law that bars abortion-affiliated clinics from getting public money, a top U.S. health official said Friday.
The federal money, which covers 90 percent of the state’s $40 million program, will be phased out between May and September because the law violates federal regulations requiring that women have a choice in medical care, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said during a trip to Houston. That means the Women’s Health Program will join a long list of programs nationwide on the chopping block because of their affiliations with Planned Parenthood or other groups that offer abortions.
The announcement came a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry pledged to find state money to keep the program afloat, though details remain scarce about where the money would come from. Texas suffered massive spending cuts last year due to a $15 billion deficit, though a state health services official said Friday that Texas would prefer to increase its deficit than completely eliminate the program.
Perry blasted Sebelius’ announcement, insisting Medicaid rules give states the right to determine which clinics are qualified to provide women’s health care.
“The fact that the Obama administration would announce its decision to deny care for more than 100,000 low-income women during a press event before giving official notice to the state is a clear demonstration of the political motivation behind this decision,” he said in a written statement, adding that Texas officials were still waiting for official word on the decision.
As is the case with other programs now in the national spotlight, the Women’s Health Program provides cancer screenings, family planning and other women’s health services. About 44 percent of women in the Texas program go to Planned Parenthood clinics, although none that accept funding from the program may perform abortions, and no federal funds are used to terminate pregnancies.
The problem in Texas is being caused by lawmakers’ desire to prevent state funds from going to Planned Parenthood. The state is implementing a law that bars public funds from going to any programs, organizations or groups that are affiliated with abortions, even if they don’t perform them.
After touring a hospital in Houston, Sebelius said the state law violates federal Medicaid regulations that require women be allowed to choose where they go for health care. Federal funds flowed to Texas under a waiver, but “we plan to let Texas know that that waiver will not be extended,” Sebelius said.
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