The State of Texas plans to move forward with a wholly remade women’s health program on November 1 that excludes Planned Parenthood’s clinics from receiving state funds, prohibits doctors from discussing abortion with patients and refuses health services entirely if the patient happens to be pregnant.
In doing so, Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled Texas legislature will forgo nearly $40 million in federal assistance, placing the program’s financial burden upon Texas taxpayers instead, all because federal law that requires states not discriminate against health providers when distributing federal funds.
“The Texas I used to live in was compassionate and kind and politicians were not willing to literally put women’s lives at stake for the sake of their own self promotion,” one woman said during Tuesday’s hearing, according to The Dallas Morning News. “So from now on, I might as well just say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just a temporary Texan until I can find someplace more American to live.’”
Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that it asked a federal court to overturn an earlier ruling that allowed Texas to chop the group’s clinics from its women’s health program, arguing that its activities are constitutionally protected and the state is infringing on the nonprofit’s free speech rights.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas has 64 clinics operating across the state today, many of which will be shut down if it is excluded from the women’s health program. None of them provide abortion services, but they do offer referrals if a patient inquires.
Even though the new women’s health program will send pregnant applicants to Medicare, that program as well is being restricted by the lone star state, with Gov. Perry vowing to refuse more than $164 billion in federal aid intended to expand coverage for low-income people.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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