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A federal judge has blocked the state of Texas from de-funding Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas, and excluding them from participating in Texas's Women's Health Program.

Local citizens and employees of the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Angelo, Texas gather in front of the clinic Thursday, March, 8, 2012 to participate in the 'Don't Mess with Texas Women' rally. (photo: Patrick Dove/AP)
Local citizens and employees of the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Angelo, Texas gather in front of the clinic Thursday, March, 8, 2012 to participate in the 'Don't Mess with Texas Women' rally. (photo: Patrick Dove/AP)



Federal Judge Blocks Texas Effort to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

By Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check

01 May 12

 

federal judge today blocked the state of Texas from de-funding Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state, and excluding them from participating in Texas's Women's Health Program (WHP). Last year, the legislature passed and Governor Perry later signed a bill that included provisions excluding Planned Parenthood affiliates from the program, for the stated reason that while Texas PP affiliates participating in the Women's Health Program do not provide safe, legal abortions, they are related to an organization that does.

Currently more than one-quarter of Texan women are uninsured. Forty percent of those who receive care through WHP chose to rely on a Planned Parenthood health center for their basic primary and preventive reproductive health care, including access to breast and cervical cancer exams, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, breast health services, Pap tests, and sexual health education and information.

On April 11, Texas Planned Parenthood family planning providers filed suit against the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in federal court, contesting the exclusion from WHP. In his ruling today, according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, "Judge Lee Yeakel agreed... that the new rule is likely unconstitutional because it bars them from participating in the Women's Health Program based on their affiliation with legally and financially separate entities that engage in constitutionally protected conduct related to abortion."

The exclusion of Planned Parenthood clinics from WHP, part of a broader assault on funding for women's health in the state, was already affecting individual Texas women. Last year, Governor Perry eliminated two-thirds of the budget for women's preventive health care from the state budget. As a result, more than 160,000 low-income women were left without services. The exclusion of PP affiliates would have affected at least another 130,000 women.

While the Perry Administration claimed that such services would be "made up" by funding by the state to other clinics, the source of the funding amidst so many other cuts was never made clear and has not materialized.

Moreover, the capacity, location, and ability of other clinics throughout the state to absorb hundreds of thousands of new clients has been questionable at best. Last year, RH Reality Check reporter Andrea Grimes personally surveyed clinics throughout the state attempting to find those that could provide easy access to services such as pap smears and found that most such potential "replacement" clinics were not as accessible on any number of levels as Planned Parenthood clinics, and often were not equipped to provide the same services. Earlier this month, Grimes profiled Cristina LuQuis, a low-income woman in Texas who was trying without success to navigate -- or, perhaps, more accurately even find -- the "new system" that was supposed to replace the services she had received from Planned Parenthood.

Extrapolate from one individual to millions of women in Texas and the implications of such cuts are dire. Women in Texas, for example, already face the third-highest rate of cervical cancer in the United States.

Still, Texas officials suggested that they would rather end the entire Women's Health Program, eliminating basic, preventive health care for more than 100,000 low-income women, than have Planned Parenthood continue to participate in the program.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Texas affiliates celebrated the decision.

"Tens of thousands of Texan women enrolled in the Women's Health Program rely on Planned Parenthood for lifesaving cancer screenings, annual exams, and access to birth control. For many women, we are the only doctor's visit they will have this year," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This ruling affirms what women have known all along: politics simply doesn't have a place in women's health."

Texas advocates issued a challenge to Perry:

"We call on Governor Perry and the state to put Texan women first and set aside any vendetta they may have against Planned Parenthood," said Patricio Gonzales, CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County. "No woman should ever have to fear being cut off from her doctor's care because of shortsighted political games."

"Legal action is always a last resort, but the state and Governor Perry's actions gave us no other option," said Gonzales. "The health and well-being of our patients is our number-one priority. We hope that this decision will allow us to continue our lifesaving work of providing high-quality health care and cancer screenings to some of Texas' most vulnerable women."

 

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+19 # humactdoc 2012-05-01 07:58
I fear that the political and extremist religious will is funded well enough to carry this to the Supreme Court where the overt authoritarian majority will set precedent and take us back decades if not centuries.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-05-02 06:28
I don't think in this case it will...I believe the Supreme court will side with the women and their right to health care...the clinic isn't only about abortion it is about health issues...
 
 
+16 # chuckw38 2012-05-01 08:59
Having been born in Texas, but, thank God, raised in New Mexico,in the 70's I became a Male Feminist & remain so, defending Women's rights to the hilt, & married to the same Woman for 50 years... In spite of Texas Know-Nothing-Br ainless-Sexist Men, who believe Women are Male 'Property', They ain't Ya'll an' sooner ya' let that sink into your sexist-sogged minds the better.... Women have the Same Rights as men and most are a hell of a lot Smarter than us anyhoo, so get used to it guys.....
 
 
+15 # GeeRob 2012-05-01 09:58
This is Texas' version of theocracy. Lots of other states are competing with their own versions. This isn't a distraction as some believe, this is yet another direct hit on women.
This is Rick Perry/Texas Republican math:
Cut off health funding for women
Feel morally superior for shutting down Planned Parenthood
Wait for seriously ill women to qualify for Medicaid and/or die
Ignore the human suffering and the costs
but continue the myth of being "pro life."
 
 
+12 # chrisconnolly 2012-05-01 10:41
I will believe this is pro-life when the death penalty, war, and unrestricted gun sales are repealed and women's health care is funded.
 
 
+6 # leavemealone 2012-05-01 12:49
It makes you wonder when Texas politicians care more about the unborn and maybe never born than they do about the women who are actually ALIVE in Texas now! The sad thing is they believe if you're not rich enough to pay for insurance or have a job that provides it, you don't deserve health care. This is the truth.

A Texas friend who is battling cancer just lost her health insurance when her employer quit providing it. She has COBRA for 9 months. Then what? When I explain to her family & friends they say the free market needs to work! What a crock! Free market health care means they don't cover pre-existing conditions, if your state has a risk pool you pay double the cost in premiums and a deductible of $5,000 and maybe you can afford it. Plus they don't want to pay for procedures that may help you. It's about making a profit!

They can't get it through their heads that other countries cover EVERYONE with affordable, quality care and rank higher than we do. But oh no, that can't be true, its all Obama's fault. This is the mentality even when it's their own family member who is sick and can't afford to pay her bills.

Wonder if that's why she got no response when she called the nurse for help. She got up out of bed and fell, braking 3 ribs. Her family had to call the nurse's station to tell them to help her as she was on the floor and couldn't get up! Great care.
M.D. Anderson, you may have heard of it.
 
 
+6 # Art947 2012-05-01 15:37
Perhaps in the 2nd Obama presidential term we will finally pass a single-payer option with respect to health care! Why should corporate money-grubbers take 30% of every dollar paid into the health care system to line their own pockets? Why should the fees charged for "emergency" service need to be inflated to pay for those without health care coverage?
 
 
+1 # Texas Aggie 2012-05-02 08:13
Gov. Goodhair has just written his own obituary. Parents with kids in school are unhappy about education cuts, and now women are unhappy about health care cuts. And he was revealed as a complete dolt on the campaign trail.
 
 
+1 # 1984 2012-05-03 19:01
And we (the politicians get incensed over women's rights in Afganastan!!!
 

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