|Joe Pojman, Ph.D.||Tue Feb 28 18:43 EST||Opinion|
February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Obama Administration is showing its loyalties. And it is not to women. It is to Planned Parenthood.
The Texas Legislature and Governor Rick Perry have authorized the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to continue the Medicaid Women’s Health Program (WHP). The program, which the HHSC points out provides preventative health services to more than 100,000 low-income women annually, is set to expire in March 2012. Those services include contraceptives, STD testing, and screening for hypertension, diabetes, and breast and cervical cancers.
The HHSC has applied to the Obama Administration for an extension of the program through 2013, with the condition that no funding go to organizations that perform or promote elective abortions or are affiliated with such organizations. Of the more than 1,000 certified WHP providers across the state, this rule excludes fewer than 100 Planned Parenthood providers. The State has an interest in not promoting abortion when it promotes birth control. The fact that Planned Parenthood performs many thousands of elective abortions every year in its 14 abortion facilities in Texas was not lost on the Legislature.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has threatened to deny renewal of the WHP if Texas does not fund Planned Parenthood as a provider. President Obama seems to care more about Planned Parenthood than about women’s health.
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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.
Joe Pojman, Ph.D., is the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life