Texas willing to throw 130,000 poor women under the bus to stick it to Planned Parenthood

Via KYBOOMU, it seems that Texas, in its stubborn quest to deny funding to Planned Parenthood, is willing to sacrifice an effective and much-needed program that provides reproductive health care to 130,000 thousand low-income women.

Last year, the Texas legislature passed a law making it illegal for the state to provide Medicaid funds to any organization that is even affiliated with one that provides abortions. That means that even the many Planned Parenthood clinics that don’t offer abortions at all would be denied funding to provide contraception, cancer screenings, and basic preventive health care through the state’s Women’s Health Program. As it did when Indiana and other states pulled the same stunt, the Obama administration cried foul, saying that the rule violates federal law and warning Texas that it could lose its $40 million federal grant for the program.

Yesterday, the Texas health commissioner signed off on the law anyway. Now the GOP legislators who bent over backwards to defund Planned Parenthood, slashed the family planning budget by two-thirds last year, and have been utterly unapologetic about their true aims, are spinning it like they’re the ones who are concerned about poor women’s health. A spokesperson for Gov. Perry said, “The Obama Administration is trying to force Texas to violate our own state laws or they will end a program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women.”

Indeed, the administration is in a hard place. Denying the funding will shut down the program, but granting it–in addition to sending the message that a state can flagrantly ignore federal law to pursue their own political vendettas–will hurt women’s access to health care too. As Andrea Grimes reported last year, despite the claims of Texas legislators, when it comes to reproductive health care for poor women, Planned Parenthood’s kinda the only game in town. Last year, they served nearly half of all the clients of the Women’s Health Program. If Planned Parenthood loses their funding, it’s unclear who’ll be there to step up.

The lesson here: it’s hard to negotiate with people who don’t give a damn. As Augusta Christensen points out, while 130,000 people losing access to reproductive health care “seems like it should be a bargaining chip against anti-choice extremists in Texas’s legislature, those delegates have made it clear that they simply do not care about reproductive health care.”

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

Read more about Maya

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/robbieloveslife/ Robert

    This is not surprising coming from Texas which is hard core republican. I know Texas is doing better financially than the majority of states though and they can do without federal aid. I live in California and heard that a lot of businesses are relocating to Nevada and Texas because they get to keep more cash in their pockets. Texas may be trying to make it so unfriendly to certain people they don’t like so they will leave the state. In other words, they are indirectly kicking certain people out.

  • http://feministing.com/members/herberks/ Rebecca

    In yet more terrible news:

    “”We’ve been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest,” said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. “Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?””

    • http://feministing.com/members/thomasfc/ Thomas Carney

      But ask yourself, if it was 130,000 men having health services cut, would you even care?

      Because men are denied health services that women get all the time.
      I don’t see feminists here complain that men don’t even get these free cancer screenings to begin with.

  • http://feministing.com/members/thomasfc/ Thomas Carney

    I don’t see the feminist uproar about discrimination of males in healthcare

    Read Cynthia Pearson’s nonsensical and bigoted argument against the creation of a state mens health commission to match the already 5 womens commissions:
    During the first half-century of our nation’s investment in medical research, the majority of resources went to studying men and the conditions that affected men disproportionately,” she said. “Is their health perfect? No. But they don’t need a movement.”

    Now I’m sure many of you here will have an initially favorable reaction to this, but it’s actually a completely BS argument and an excuse for bigotry.

    First of all, what the HELL does that even mean? ” conditions that affected men disproportionately?” She obviously missed the point that nearly ALL conditions affect men disproportionally, because women are naturally healthier and live longer. I hear that argument frequently, but it’s no more than a non sequitur and red herring. Research in the 1930s is obsolent anyway, and I would bet my life that men aren’t getting more effective treatment for liver disease today because of research done 80 years ago.

    Women’s health , meanwhile, is getting the most modern and sophisticated medical research known to medical science, so womens health will jump well ahead of mens. New medical technologies will be designed to favor womens health at the expense of mens.

    The fact is, TODAY, for us ALIVE TODAY, men are discriminated in the healthcare industry. We spend far more on female-specific health issues, we have dozens of federally funded health offices for female-specific issues, yet we have ZERO of the same for men.

    How about the special womens-only hospital wing for general purposes?
    Now, can you imagine YOUR reaction if the reverse.

    Why don’t we turn the NFL field blue for a month for prostate cancer? And consider this: if a man suggested that in the name of equality, he’d be publicly crucified, called a sexist, a coward, he’d be laughed at, etc.

    You all know that if it were the other way around, she would saying exactly the opposite of what she is now.

    • http://feministing.com/members/robbieloveslife/ Robert

      Dude I understand your point of view but I’ll say this, men die younger because we are bigger risk takers (driving fast, extreme sports) and drink and smoke a lot more which is unhealthy as hell. I wouldn’t say we are naturally less healthy, I think our lifestyles play a big part in being unhealthy.

      • http://feministing.com/members/thomasfc/ Thomas Carney

        First of all I’d like to say I’m absolute AMAZED beyond belief that I’ve not had my account deleted yet- I’m definitely impressed that Feministing hasn’t cracked down (yet.)
        However, to Robert, I’m sorry to say that just isn’t true. Countless medical studies have confirmed that when all things are equal, women will still outlive men. Women are less likely to both develop cancer and die from cancer, and women’s average age of onset for heart disease is 10 years older. For some types of cancer, men die at almost 5 times the rate.
        However, it’s true that SOME of the life expectancy difference can be explained by lifestyle. You need to remember, though, that even in nature females in almost every species live longer.

    • http://feministing.com/members/joselyn/ Joselyn

      Most insurance companies cover the costs for checks on Prostate cancer and other male health related exams. Now, I know that that doesn’t cover men without health insurace, but there are community health clinics that are some options for these men. I agree that everyone deserves access to affordable health care but maybe you should start talking about how planned parenthood should expand their services and also start doing male cancer screenings as well.

      And in terms of health research. Wow, I was thinking to myself that that argument was valid until you started talking about men’s health research. The research might not appear in the news on the internet, but it appears in the New England journal of medicine. It appears in the various health journals. And the history of the medical male model is something that affects women to this day. I highly recommend reading up on this issue because the medical research model and how it has consistantly been male would be a long, long post. Read “Changing the Face of Medicine” or other books relating to the subject of gender-specific medicine.

  • http://feministing.com/members/oubli/ LOL

    There goes getting my IUD inserted at my local Planned Parenthood . I just finished and turned in the application for the Women’s Health Program but it won’t be approved until AFTER the Mar 14 when all funding is cut. I need that IUD to properly plan my family, another pregnancy and child right now will just push my husband, I and my daughter further into poverty, we are barely making ends meet right now and now THIS? I just want to junk punch Rick Perry and the HHS Commissioner Suehs! I am so frustrated I want to SCREAM! ! !