We used to call it a “Mexican standoff,” but that could be considered bigoted these days. Or at least non-PC.
“Obama Standoff” is a better description for a specific condition – one that’s becoming more common and hitting us more frequently. In the “Obama Standoff,” the Obama administration demands that Texas, some other State, or any individual or organization of individuals with a conscience, violate their own laws, Constitution, or conscience – threatening to withhold Federal tax money, fine, or break that law himself if others don’t comply.
Unbelievably, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius visited Houston today and announced – on the Friday before the funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program expires on Wednesday, March 14 – that she is going to deny renewal of the Medicaid waiver. She did this *before* notifying the State or the Commissioner! See the Governor’s announcement in response, here. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/17025/ )
The Obama Administration doesn’t even care that there will be no meeting of the Texas Legislature until January 2013. Of course, this is the Constitutional scholar in the White House who ignored the meaning of “recess appointment” in January. Why should he honor concepts like the Legislature makes laws and the Executive Branch must follow them?
It doesn’t matter that Texas has had the same law for 10 years any more than it matters that the Catholic Church has opposed contraception for thousands of years. It doesn’t matter that physicians have defended the right to follow their consciences for 2500 years, since Hippocrates’ oath was adopted by the Profession.
Why should they? They don’t care that the First Amendment guarantees the free expression of religion — to “establishments of religion,” by the way!
In a particularly unconscionable moment, one Obama Administration official told representatives of religious organizations that they had a year to reconcile – with Obama, not with God.
And they certainly don’t understand, much less care, what a “conscience” is other than some roadblock in their goal to control and force every doctor to be complicit with ending human life – or at least make sure to move next door to someone who will.
To paraphrase C. S. Lewis: We laugh at honor and are surprised to find treachery among us.
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.