Planned Parenthood: Punched in the Uterus by Misguided Texas Senate

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More bad news for women who rely on Planned Parenthood.
A Texas Senate subcommittee wrangled the vulvas of Texas women into a chokehold yesterday with its latest assault on Planned Parenthood. Republican Senator Robert Deuell, who is a physician, introduced a bill to a three-member subcommittee that bans Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid Women's Health Program. The program provides low-income women with basic health care: health screenings, family planning exams and birth control. The bill passed, and now thousands of women statewide are one step closer to disease and unwanted pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood is the largest provider for the Women's Health Program, through which about 90,000 Texas women receive the program's services, according to Planned Parenthood's press release. Houston's seven centers represent the state's area of highest demand.

"If you cut out Planned Parenthood, you're lopping off basic health care for all these women," Rochelle Tafolla, of Planned Parenthood of Houston & Southeast Texas, tells Hair Balls. "They have to figure out where else they'll go for this care."

Planned Parenthood is one of the only centers tailor-made to offer the services in the program. In fact, Planned Parenthood was specifically written into the Medicaid waiver program as being allowed to participate, said Tafolla. Now, the Senate is trying to backtrack. "If Planned Parenthood litigates against the ban on Planned Parenthood participating, the bill specifically requires that Texas discontinue the entire program," the press release said.

The ludicrous bill is especially frustrating since written by a physician. Should Planned Parenthood be stripped of funding to provide women with free condoms, an annual family planning exam and pap smear, STI screenings, pregnancy tests and a host of contraceptive methods, it stands to reason that these same low-income women on Medicaid will have more babies. Births are paid for in full by Medicaid, and each birth costs $15,000. The Women's Health Program costs $300-$500 per woman.

We're pretty sure doctors are required to take a math class or two.

"It's terrible public policy and public health policy," Tafolla said. "As a physician, you should know that you're going to shut down a program that's helping women stay healthy and helping the state save money. It doesn't make any sense."

Like every other vicious attack on Planned Parenthood recently, this one is propelled by a conservative outcry against abortion. But under law, Planned Parenthood never uses state or federal funds for abortions. "They're not even thinking about women," Tafolla said. "They're thinking about politics."

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Texas Soldier
Texas Soldier

As a soldier in the Reserve forces, I have the option of using Tricare (government health care). This is much more affordable for my husband and myself instead of using a plan through my civilian employer. Upon return from deployment last year, I called my OB/GYN doctor to schedule an appointment to renew my birth control prescription. She informed me that she was no longer accepting government health insurance because it was too costly for her business. Not wanting to get pregnant so I could deploy again and continue to do my job, I turned to Planned Parenthood for my birth control...and now my annual exam...and whenever I need to see a "lady" doctor. It was either Planned Parenthood, call all around Houston to try and find someone decent to accept my government health insurance, wait until the VA had an opening for me to be seen, or drive three hours to Fort Sam Houston to be seen in a military hospital. Needless to say, I am grateful Planned Parenthood was there when I needed them.

Am I appalled that my elected officials are having their own war within my uterus? Hell yes.

Bobdeuell
Bobdeuell

You do not understand the entire situation. I am saving this program with my bill. I can never get the votes to approve renewal of the Women's Health Plan without the provision to stop the program if a court overrules the exclusion of Abortion providers and their affiliates. The services to the women currently served will be provided by other Women's Health Plan providers many of whom can provide or coordinate more comprehensive care. There are hundreds of them in areas of all abortion providers. We have maps and lists to prove that. It was never our intention to have money from this program go to abortion providers or their affiliates for a variety of reasons not all related to abortion. The Attorney General has given an opinion that we can legally do that. Bob Deuell, M.D., Member, Texas Senate

Phflannery
Phflannery

"The services to the women currently served will be provided by other Women's Health Plan providers many of whom can provide or coordinate more comprehensive care. There are hundreds of them in areas of all abortion providers."

This is a favorite lie told by Deuell and his ilk. The existing infrastructure cannot take on PP's existing clients, not immediately, and probably not any time soon:

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/...

Texas
Texas

Shame on you, senator.

Anthem281
Anthem281

What if the "new" providers that the women will receive care from have performed or currently perform abortions? Are you going to pre-screen every provider before providing funds? Are you going to review confidential medical records during your review? I think people understand the issue pretty well - you want to defund Planned Parenthood. On the federal level there is already legislation that blocks federal funds for abortion. You and your colleagues have launched a full scale assault on women in Texas and our access to the providers of our choice. I thought your main opposition to Obamacare was that it gave the government too much say in our healthcare.

Rita Joseph
Rita Joseph

It is absolutely right for Texan Senators to seek to restore some protection for vulnerable children at risk of routine abortion by the Planned Parenthood machine.

No Medicaid health program should ever trust or support any group that performs intentionally lethal procedures on any patient. Genuine medicine does no deliberate harm to either patient, the mother or her unborn child.

In one year, Planned Parenthood has aborted over three hundred thousand children, utterly defenseless victims of current ideological battles between Republicans and Democrats.

The multi-million dollar abortion industry has profited for too long from these ideological wars.

Protecting innocent human lives from medicalized lethal procedures is primarily a matter of justice. It should never have been trivialized as a mere 'medical funding' problem. Selected children are routinely aborted, utterly defenseless victims of the Democrats' current allegiance to an extreme feminist ideology founded on the abhorrent 'principle' that the small genetically unique human child, growing and being protected and nurtured in his/her mother's womb is only "a bunch of cells" over which women have absolute ownership and disposal rights.

Of course, this is not the first time that an ideology has taken hold of a political party and resulted in the programmed dehumanizing and medicalized extermination of a vulnerable group of human beings.

But even the most virulent ideologies flame and then die away. All that is left is deep abiding shame for our complicity over four decades in the terrible injustice of 'legal' abortion of innocent human lives.

Gwest
Gwest

YOUR MOMMA resulted in the programmed dehumanizing and medicalized extermination of a vulnerable group of human beings.

Maggie_May
Maggie_May

Last time I checked, abortion is legal in the USA. Which includes Texas. Fetuses are not children.

The money going to Planned Parenthood for women's health is kept separate from the fully legal abortion service they offer. When this funding is lost, more women's health will suffer. (But they don't care about women.) More possibly unwanted children will be born. At which point the soulless Republicans can continue to gleefully cut funding that might help with their nutrition & healthcare. And continue to strangle the schools.

The Republicans can afford private schools. And private abortions for their daughters & girlfriends.

Dude!!!
Dude!!!

If we delegitimized every organization and institution that was connected with something foul, then nothing would be legitimate. Not families, not governments, not NGOs, not churches. Using your logic, we should shut down public schools if a teacher has sex with a student or teaches something someone disagrees with. I wonder what it's like to go throughout life with a Manichean worldview. Probably terrible at parties and a tyrannical parent.

Geminijen
Geminijen

What silliness this entire comment! Embryos and fetuses are not 'children' period. They are not 'vulnerable children', or 'innocent children'.Embryos have the sentience and semblance of a tadpole.They do not have souls. They do not feel pain. Embryos are in fact embryos.

On the other hand, living women who desperately need health care ARE fully developed humans with names and families, and they do indeed feel emotional and physical pain rather acutely.

(as are the abortion doctors that you and Randall Terry would 'execute' (his word).

The extremism is on YOUR part for endowing an embryo or fetus with childlike qualities, and demanding that everyone conform to this sentimental clap-trap. It's really rubbish and ought to be gone by now.

Dexter
Dexter

Planned Parenthood is already out of the Women's Health Program. This is an effort to keep it alive so at least someone can participate.

H_e_x
H_e_x

You're telling me rabid right wing Republicans are out to fuck over women? Gee golly, I've never seen that before. Its almost as if they don't care about women and would rather have them chained up to the stove, popping out babies, while their husbands go out and win some bread.

Evan
Evan

Why don't we just outlaw sex before marriage? That is the end goal, right?

H_e_x
H_e_x

I think the end result is banning women completely.

Anthem281
Anthem281

Keep your hands and legislation off my body! This is an assault on women in this state. We need to wake up and get these fools out of power! Our state is supposedly experiencing a budget crisis, why are they so concerned about what is going on in my exam room?

Flash
Flash

I think that is exactly what they are doing here. Pay for your own abortion.

Anthem281
Anthem281

No federal or state dollars are allowed to go for abortion - get informed on the issue!

H_e_x
H_e_x

You do know abortion is only a very small part of their services offered?

miss_msry
miss_msry

Perhaps if Planned Parenthood separated their basic women's care (ie: free condoms, an annual family planning exam and pap smear, STI screenings, pregnancy tests and a host of contraceptive methods) and their abortion services, which I totally think is up to the woman and should be legal, this could all be avoided.

Guest
Guest

Planned Parenthood DOES separate family planning and abortion services into separate corporations, which is the law.

If you read the article, you would have seen "But under law, Planned Parenthood never uses state or federal funds for abortions."

Andrea
Andrea

In fact, Planned Parenthood in Houston does have a totally separate legal entity that provides abortion - totally separate from the preventive services you list - birth control, annual exams, STI screenings, breast and cervical cancer screening, etc. The Medicaid Women's Health money never intermingles, touches, or even comes close to the private funds used for abortion services.

This bill cuts services that save money and prevent abortion. It is designed not to help women's health, and not to improve the healthcare safety net, but to punish Planned Parenthood, and by extension, punish the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for compassionate, safe, and affordable healthcare.

Republicans in the legislature are playing politics with women's bodies and compromising the future of our whole state. Texas already ranks among the highest when it comes to teen pregnancies and repeat teen pregnancies. We have more uninsured children - live, already-born children, not fetuses - than most other states, and no plan provide preventive health coverage to them. We're cutting educational options for those same already-born children as well.

Please remember this when you vote.

Katy
Katy

In addition, if everyone who is NOT a far right wing Republican would just go ahead and move to another state, the legislature could stop wasting time listening to all these complaints about how stupid their proposed laws are.

(The non-right wingers should probably go ahead and take everyone who will ever need health care or education with them when they go, too...)

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