The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


Governor Perry Sabotages Entire Texas Women's Health Program

Politically motivated maneuver could leave more than 130,000 Texans without health care — comes on the heels of reduction in women’s health care to 180,000 women


Today Texas Governor Rick Perry moved to effectively sabotage the entire Medicaid Women's Health Program, which provides preventive health care, including birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings, to more than 130,000 low-income women each year.

"Governor Perry and his conservative allies have once again chosen politics over the lives of Texas women," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "He will never know the reality of the women that rely on these programs. He will never know what it's like for a woman who feels a lump in her breast, but has to worry about the cost of a doctor's visit."

This is just the latest attack on women's health by Governor Perry and Texas legislators. Over the summer, Governor Perry signed a budget that slashed funding for women's health by two-thirds, resulting in more than 180,000 women losing access to preventive health care this year.

The federal government, which covers 90 percent of the cost of this program, has made clear to Texas -- and to all 50 states -- that a rule excluding a qualified provider like Planned Parenthood would not be allowed in the Medicaid program because it restricts the rights of patients in violation of federal law.

Rather than work toward a solution that would allow for the continuation for this vital women's health program, Texas effectively sabotaged the entire Medicaid Women's Health Program by announcing today that Governor Perry's Executive Commissioner of Health and Human Services had formally adopted the illegal rule.

Planned Parenthood is one of the leading, most trusted health care providers in the country -- and in Texas. In fact, Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of care within the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program and consistently delivers high-quality, affordable care to working Texas women.

Nearly 50 percent of the women who received vital health care through the Texas Women's Health Program rely on a Planned Parenthood health center for their preventive health care.

"Even as more than one-quarter of Texas women are uninsured, and women in Texas have the third highest rate of cervical caner in the country, Governor Perry is determined to make a bad situation worse for women in the state of Texas," Richards said. "Texas would rather throw health care for hundreds of thousands of women overboard than allow Planned Parenthood to provide health care like breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and STD prevention through public health programs."

This backdoor tactic is from the same playbook that Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina all attempted in 2011 and today's action comes after thousands of women -- from Virginia, to Idaho, to Missouri, to Capitol Hill -- have been mobilizing to fight back against attempts to restrict women's access to reproductive health care.

"What you're seeing around the country is a resounding message to all politicians: No one's politics should interfere with a woman's access to birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings," Richards concluded.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is many things to many people. We are a trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world. Planned Parenthood delivers vital health care services, sex education, and sexual health information to millions of women, men, and young people.