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Forum Post: Texas to Shut Down Women's Health Program if It Includes Planned Parenthood

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 20, 2012, 4:18 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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Texas to Shut Down Women's Health Program if It Includes Planned Parenthood

Saturday, 20 October 2012 13:19 By Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/12228-texas-promises-to-shut-down-womens-health-program-altogether-if-it-includes-planned-parenthood

As Texas prepares to launch its new state-funded Women's Health Program on November 1st, the state's top public health official announced yesterday that the Health and Human Services Commission has officially adopted rules banning abortion "affiliates" from participating in the WHP. The rules are intended to ban Planned Parenthood from participating in the program, despite the fact that the health care provider has historically provided care to more than half of the WHP's enrollees in years past, and despite the fact that the program itself deals not at all with safe abortion care and is explicitly directed at women who are not, and do not want to be, pregnant.

HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek told reporters on Thursday that he was "confident" the state could find providers to fill the gap left by the exclusion of Planned Parenthood, but that he couldn't "guarantee" that would happen on November 1st.

What Janek can guarantee is that the state will shut down the WHP entirely if the Planned Parenthood ban is found to be against the law, effectively holding hostage the care of the 115,000 Texans who rely on the WHP for pap smears and contraceptives. The adopted rules include a "poison pill" clause that would immediately shut down the Texas program if judges rule in favor of Planned Parenthood in their pending lawsuit against the state claiming the exclusion is unconstitutional.

"If the courts say you have to include Planned Parenthood, then yes, it goes away," Janek told reporters.

CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Ken Lambrecht denounced the decision in a statement released Thursday, calling it "shocking" that the state would "rather end low-income women's access to family planning and preventative health services altogether than allow Planned Parenthood to provide these vital health services to women who choose to come to Planned Parenthood for care." The affiliate ban comes despite pleas from health care professionals, university researchers, WHP enrollees and Planned Parenthood supporters who gave impassioned statements to the HHSC in a September meeting asking the department not to exclude abortion affiliates from the program. The HHSC did, however, make a concession to those who worried that language in the rules banning the "promotion" of abortion would prevent doctors from discussing the procedure at all with their patients.

"What we wanted was to allow for the one-on-one, private, non-directive counseling between a physician and her patient," Janek said, acknowledging that the original language was "a bit of a gag rule." Doctors will be allowed to provide information to patients about abortion providers, but can do little else.

Last month, the president of the Texas Medical Association, Dr. Michael Speer, asked HHSC not to "gag doctors" in a statement that said the rules would force them to choose between practicing good medicine or following "a rule created to serve a political ideology." Though he has not yet had an opportunity to review the entirety of the new rules, Speer told RH Reality Check in a statement Friday that "physicians are encouraged" by the changes, because "it is very important that patients are able to trust that their doctor is giving the best medical advice for them—based on their medical needs and nothing else.”

In a 43-page document detailing the HHSC's response to comments received on the affiliate rule—the vast majority of which asked the department not to adopt the rules—the HHSC appears confident that it can find a sufficient number of providers to address the needs of all 115,000 Texans in the program, though both George Washington University's analysis and RH Reality Check's own investigation have found evidence to the contrary.

In the document, DSHS acknowledges that "some women"—that's the around 50,000 Texans who currently go to Planned Parenthood, more than half of the program's enrollees—will have to switch providers, but that "women will find a new provider within a reasonable distance and geographic range" and that it cannot be asked to "estimate the indirect costs to the state of under-utilization of a state program" that would come from an increase in taxpayer-funded Medicaid births. GWU's study, released last week, predicts that the exclusion of Planned Parenthood from the WHP will result in a "substantial increase in the number of unplanned pregnancies in Texas," achieving precisely the opposite of the WHP's stated goal, which is to help women who don't want to be pregnant stay that way.

Texas Women's Health Program Abortion Affiliate Rules http://www.scribd.com/doc/110540807/Texas-Women-s-Health-Program-Abortion-Affiliate-Rules Texas Women's Health Program Abortion Affiliate Rules

This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

This article is republished from RH Reality Check, a progressive online publication covering global reproductive and sexual health news and information.

15 Comments

15 Comments


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[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

It's time to kick Texas to the curb.

[-] 2 points by jbgramps (159) 2 years ago

You can blame this one on Gov. Rick Perry. Just think what would happpen if he would've made it to the White House. For the record, I'm a conservative, but even I know how crazy Perry is.

[-] 2 points by mideast (506) 2 years ago

Makes perfect sense :

over 50 percent of women vote D +
reduce planned parenthood =
reduce the number of women +
higher percentage for R

Makes perfect sense

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Easy bensdad

[-] -1 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 2 years ago

Ummmm...how does that "reduce the number of women"?

[-] 1 points by mideast (506) 2 years ago

no health care - reduces the numbers

[-] -1 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 2 years ago

Proof? And who is not allowing women to have healthcare? Why are they not allowing women to have healthcare?

[-] 1 points by mideast (506) 2 years ago

Romney & Perry specifically want Planned Parenthood gone
R platform - no abortions - even if it keeping the fetus kills the mother

[-] -1 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 2 years ago

Hmmm....not sure when they said that. I know they want to end federal millions for that organization. How does that do away with them? And no abortions is in the R lay form? Where?

[-] 2 points by mideast (506) 2 years ago

PLATFORM The party states that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." It opposes using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate abortions. It says the party will not fund or subsidize health care that includes abortion coverage.


so willard will appoint anti-choice judges
so SCOTUS will overturn Roe
so states can completely ban all abortions


in 2011 there were 92 NEW anti-abortion laws passed


[-] -1 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 2 years ago

They'll never get past Roe vs Wade. And the government shouldn't be funding infanticide. The private sector can fund those organizations.

[-] 1 points by mideast (506) 2 years ago

so says you
there is nothin in American law that says a fetus is a person
ditto the bible


I assume you are against forcing churches to offer birth control insurance coverage to its employees because the church does not want to
what about the Christian Scientist who owns a factory -
should they NOT offer any medical insurance?


our laws protect PEOPLE not CHURCHES

[-] 0 points by Neuwurldodr (744) 2 years ago

We must remember, this is the state where the books for our educational system are scrutinized, cut, pasted, and overwritten with Texan ideologies.

Wonder why everyone remains in a state of mental slavery? Why our children know doodly squat about the realities of this great nation of ours? Look at the state of Texas, who runs it, and how it is maintained. "Good ole boys club" runs deep in this country! Does anyone believe they actually give a damn?

[-] -1 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 2 years ago

Planned parenthood can easily cover the costs for care to low income women. Pretending they can't is a lie.

[-] -2 points by yobstreet (-575) 2 years ago

Criminal behavior was never the intent; close them down nationwide.