An op-ed by Joe Pojman, PhD, the Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, which discusses who is really to “blame” if the Texas Women’s Health Program is cut because we lose our Federal funds. (I’m privileged to be on the Board of Directors of TAL.)
Last June the Texas Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 7, which allows for the renewal of the WHP, on a Senate vote of 21-9 and a House vote of 96-48. The bill prohibits the state from contracting with entities that “perform or promote elective abortions or affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions.”
Federal law allows Texas to exclude Planned Parenthood. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion declaring that federal law allows states to exclude abortion providers and their affiliated organizations from Medicaid.
There are ample alternate WHP providers in Texas who are not involved in abortion. These physicians and clinics typically offer comprehensive primary and preventative care in addition to family planning. These providers could become the medical home for low-income women. The Obama Administration is about to deny WHP funds to these quality providers, and to the women they serve, just because Texas wants to fund these without funding Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is a poor investment of public funds. Planned Parenthood offers only a narrow range of services and is unwilling or incapable of offering comprehensive primary and preventative care. Planned Parenthood cannot treat breast cancer. They do not even have one mammogram machine anywhere in Texas. The only time a woman will see a doctor at Planned Parenthood is if she is there for an abortion. Women deserve better.
Planned Parenthood should not be trusted with our tax dollars. For example, Planned Parenthood of San Antonio operated four abortion facilities illegally without a license for as long as four years until they were discovered by the State in 2009 and fined more than $100,000. They were required to return thousands of dollars billed to the WHP.
The Obama Administration, not the Legislature or the Governor, will be to blame for killing the Women’s Health Program, if the Obama Administration does not renew the program just because Planned Parenthood is excluded.