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Planned Parenthood “affiliates” and the Texas Women’s Health Program

Today, the Austin Chronicle, the local “alternative” news source, has yet another article “Perry continues assault on women’s healthcare,” claiming that Governor Perry and the Commissioner of Health and Human Services Suehs have acted – seemingly on their own – to shut down the Texas Women’s Health Program (more info here) in order to spite the poor underdog, Planned Parenthood.

Today’s statement is that “The new regulation signed by Suehs – redefining “affiliate” to mean that Planned Parenthood clinics not providing abortions are deemed affiliated with those clinics that do – conflicts with federal law, as confirmed last week by U.S. Health and Human Ser­vices Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.”

Actually, the Attorney General ruled on the definition of “Affiliate.” The Secretary must follow the law passed last Spring by the 82nd Texas Legislature.

It’s not surprising – in fact it’s common sense – that subsidiary corporations are considered “affiliates” by the State, since they are members of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  The annual report of PPFA calls these facilities their “medical affiliates.” The President of PPFA, Cecile Richards, shown above with Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth at a Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Texas event, visits these subsidiaries in her official duties.

(Photo from the 2009 Annual Report of Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Texas)

“Obama Standoff,” or To Coin a Phrase – Revised

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.

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