Today, the Texas House is scheduled to debate the State’s proposed budget. This legislative session, members of the Texas Legislature have targeted breast and cervical cancer screenings for Planned Parenthood patients.  In response to the proposed budget measure, yesterday, Planned ParenthoodTexas Votes launched Save Our Screeningsa campaign to inform and motivate Texans to take action, including personal testimony from two women who accessed lifesaving cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood (view a video here).

The budget measure is a tiered funding scheme that would essentially exclude Planned Parenthood patients from accessing cancer screenings through the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program (BCCS) — despite the fact that in some Texas communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of BCCS services (see this map from the Texas Tribune). Last year alone, Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas combined served more than 3,300 women through the BCCS program.

This comes on the heels of two new reports revealing that tens of thousands of women are going without health care as a result of previous funding cuts and schemes that blocked women’s access to cancer screenings, birth control and other preventive health care:

  • The State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a grim new report revealing that 30,000 fewer women received health care through the Texas Women’s Health Program (WHP) in 2013 than in 2011, following the state’s takeover of the program in order to ban Planned Parenthood. The Dallas Morning News reported that “the areas with the highest drops in the number of women served by the WHP occurred in areas where Planned Parenthood clinics shuttered.”
     
  • A second new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, — found that the state’s family planning program served 54% fewer patients as a result of the 2011 budget cuts and tiered distribution of remaining funds. The researchers went on to write: “The tiered funding system placed organizations that had the greatest amount of experience providing these methods at a disadvantage and instead favored those that did not offer these methods as widely to their clients.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“This proposed budget measure would block access to lifesaving care for hardworking Texas women, all in the name of politics. Tens of thousands of women are already going without cancer screenings, birth control, and other care because of the callous disregard of the Texas Legislature. Make no mistake — the politicians targeting cancer screenings for Texas women are the same politicians who passed one of the most extreme abortion restrictions in the nation.

“At Planned Parenthood, we never give up — and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect women’s access to cancer screenings, birth control, and safe, legal abortion.  Last fall, Planned Parenthood cut the ribbon on a new health center in Dallas, and there are plans to open a new health center in San Antonio soon. We will continue to be here for the women who rely on us — in Texas and across the country, because a woman’s right to access medical care should not depend on where she lives.”