Trump Administration Could Green-Light Texas' Dismantling of Reproductive Health Care
By Liz Galst | May 17, 2017, 2:18 p.m.
Category: Attacks on Planned Parenthood, State Attacks
The Lone Star State wants federal money to fund its dangerous “Healthy Texas Women” program which “defunds” Planned Parenthood and blocks access to critical care. Its efforts could incite anti-women’s-health policies in other states.
Texas ranks 48th for women’s health outcomes in the country, but anti-abortion state officials are pushing policies that will make it even harder for Texas women to access health care.
Federal policy safeguards the right of people who get health care through Medicaid to see any qualified health care provider, including Planned Parenthood health centers.
But Texas state officials don’t want to play by the rules.
Instead, they want the Trump administration — and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in particular — to upend longstanding federal policy in order to fund a program that was specifically created to block access to care at Planned Parenthood. That program, called the “Healthy Texas Women Program,” has already had catastrophic health consequences for Texas women.
Specifically, Texas politicians want the federal government to grant them a waiver that will fund their failed health program, setting a dangerous precedent for other states to follow.
Granting this waiver will embolden like-minded state governments across the country to apply for their own waivers so they can limit women’s access to high-quality, comprehensive care. If Texas can do this, anti-abortion forces in a host of other states will think, “Why not us, too?”
Anti-abortion politicians want to keep Planned Parenthood out of federal programs even though these programs have nothing to do with abortion, and it's already illegal to pay for abortion with federal dollars — a policy Planned Parenthood abides by. Instead, these government officials just want to stop women from accessing preventive care — care they often can’t get anywhere else: In 68% of counties with a Planned Parenthood health center, Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all safety-net family planning patients.
Here’s what anti-abortion Texas officials haven’t counted on, though: You. With Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, you can help fight these efforts. You can protect women and their families in Texas and across the country, and help women live healthier, safer lives.
Texas shouldn’t get a free pass when it comes to federal law, and it shouldn’t stop women from getting the care they need and often can’t get anywhere else.
Want to get started? Here’s more background on Texas’ anti-Planned Parenthood efforts, and what you can do to help stop this dangerous plan.
Texas’ Women’s Health Disaster
In recent years, Texas has put in place a whole bunch of dangerous measures that have blocked access to preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers and other providers that also offer abortion services.
In 2011 Texas shut down its Medicaid-funded family planning and women’s health programs rather than let women get preventive services at Planned Parenthood. In the process, it left many women with nowhere to turn for health care and intentionally left tens of millions of dollars of federal funding on the table, despite its terrible health outcomes, and despite the fact that the percentage of women without health insurance in Texas — 22% — is higher than any other state in the nation.
Texas then started its own state-funded “Healthy Texas Women’s Program,” which was specifically designed to limit women’s access to health care, including Planned Parenthood.
The results have been disastrous.
Because Planned Parenthood provided care to almost 40% of the women in the original, federally funded Texas programs, and there aren’t enough other providers to take up the slack, nearly 30,000 fewer women have received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care as a result.
Since Texas politicians first began this anti-women’s health initiative, health centers across the state have shuttered -- both Planned Parenthood and independent clinics -- and women across Texas were left with nowhere to turn.
Check out this GIF and watch them disappear.
Births among women who lost access to injectable contraception increased by 27%.
Most dramatically, the rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas — what doctors call “maternal mortality” — has doubled since 2010, coinciding with stringent funding cuts for women’s health care and “defunding” Planned Parenthood. The rate is now higher in Texas than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Think about that for a minute: anywhere else in the industrialized world. Even more alarming, these rates are disproportionately high among Black women.
Dangerous policies like those enacted in Texas are hardest on people who already face systemic barriers to health care, including Black and Latino communities. Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas served more than 33,000 Latino patients and more than 21,000 Black patients in 2014.
Your Voice Counts
Here’s where you can help. Now that Texas has submitted its official request in the state, it has to take public comments from its residents for 30 days.
If you live in the Lone Star State, you can make your comments here.
Also, make plans to show up at the next public hearing, which will be held in Lubbock. (The date, time, and location have yet to be announced.)
Once Texas submits its plan to the federal government, there’s another 30-day comment period. That’s where Texans and non-Texans alike can make their voices heard. Texas shouldn’t get a free pass when it comes to federal law, and it shouldn’t stop women from getting the care they need and often can’t get anywhere else.
In the meantime, you can spread the word about Texas’ dangerous plan by sharing this graphic right now — by getting involved, you can help save Texas women’s lives.
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Tags: Abortion, Texas, State Fights, Donald Trump, Tom Price, Planed Parenthood, Trump Administration