Texas is moving forward with an unprecedented and bold request to the federal government: the state wants federal money to help it strip all public funding from Planned Parenthood.
If Texas is successful, other states are likely to follow suit.
"We're all terrified," Elizabeth Nash, senior state issue manager at the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, told the Guardian. "This is really huge, if they let Texas do this."
The state is requesting funds for its "Healthy Texas Women" program, a state-run health program created after the Obama administration withdrew federal family planning funds from Texas for its efforts to illegally block federal Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood.
Healthy Texas Women is a family planning program that doesn't provide abortions, and critics have charged that it inadequately replaces other Planned Parenthood services as well.
The Guardian exclusively reported Friday:
[I]n a letter obtained by the Guardian, Texas officials ask the U.S. health department to fund its state program—the same one the state created after it defied federal laws that prohibit defunding Planned Parenthood.
In its letter, which is expected to be sent to the Trump administration as early as this week, Texas makes no indication that the state plans to comply with those laws and reinstate Planned Parenthood's funding.
This is despite a federal court ruling in February that issued a temporary injunction against Texas' attempts to bar Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood clinics.
"A half dozen other states have attempted to exclude Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding. But only Texas, by giving up millions in such funding, has been successful," the Guardian notes.
If Texas succeeds in getting replacement federal funds from the (anti-women and anti-choice) Trump administration, that would signal to other states that they can break the law and defund Planned Parenthood without financial ramifications.
"It would let all of these states start kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid," Nash said. "And Medicaid is by far the largest form of public funding for family planning."
Medicaid funds pay for about 75 percent of publicly-funded family planning services across the country, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Texas is also attempting to defund Planned Parenthood by denying it Title X funding, as Common Dreams reported. Title X funds account for 10 percent of government family planning expenditures nationwide.