At CPAC, Texas Gov. Rick Perry quipped, “I haven’t left the fight; I just went home, reloaded my Mag and am fighting on a different front.” Clearly, he wasn’t kidding. Texas today cut Medicaid funding to abortion providers — even though the administration threatened to cut the state’s funding if it did so. The Daily Caller reports:
On Thursday, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Thomas Suehs signed a rule at the behest of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that will formally ban Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion providers from participating in Texas’ Women’s Health Program.
The administration had threatened to revoke federal funding from the state-federal Medicaid program if Texas went through with the ban.
“The Obama administration is trying to force Texas to violate our own state laws or they will end a program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women,” said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry told The Texas Tribune. “This boils down to the rule of law — which the state of Texas respects and the Obama administration does not.”
The ball is back in the administration’s court now: Does Obama want to actually cut funding and potentially jeopardize the Texas Women’s Health program, which might not be able to survive without federal funding? That sends the message that Obama cares less that women have access to health care than that they receive health care from certain providers — namely, providers that also offer abortions.
Either Rick Perry just called Obama’s bluff or this is about to be an interesting issue. Planned Parenthood has already retorted with its typical demagoguery: “No one’s politics should interfere with a woman’s access to health care,” Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast President and CEO Peter J. Durkin said in a statement. “It is shameful that Governor Perry and Commissioner Suehs continue to politicize lifesaving breast cancer screenings and birth control access for low-income women.”
Would Planned Parenthood stand by that statement as it applies to President Obama, too? Surely other providers in the Texas Women’s Health Exchange provide breast cancer screenings and birth control access. Eliminating abortion providers from the exchange doesn’t jeopardize women’s health access — but eliminating the exchange altogether would. It’s obvious why Planned Parenthood would care more about which organization women turn to — they’ve got a business to run. Why don’t they just admit that and stop the rhetoric about “women’s health”?