Family Planning gets some help...
- There is hope, even in Texas! Interesting...
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 (in Texas). 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
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
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
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
"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."
H. E. (Ernie) Schreiber
EUNACOM Secular Journal: http://eunacom.net
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