Texas anti-choice advocates decided to bet the house in their battle to kick Planned Parenthood out of the state.
Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek announced this week that its newly created state health program for low-income women will not include Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates, and if a federal court orders it to include the women’s health provider in the state-run program officials will shutter the program rather than let Planned Parenthood participate.
Currently the federal government pays for about 90 percent of Texas’ $39-million-a-year Women’s Health Program. But that funding is at risk after Texas voted to exclude Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates from being included in the program.
The current federal-state health program provides contraception and health screenings. The state-funded program will provide those services plus treatment of certain sexually transmitted diseases, Janek said.
Rochelle Tafolla, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which serves Houston and surrounding areas, said ending the program would be devastating for patients. “It’s shocking that they would rather end a program for low-income, uninsured women than to allow Planned Parenthood to provide these services,” she said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
As the Tribune reports, a study released this month by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services raised questions about whether other facilities would be able to absorb the patients now served by Planned Parenthood. “There is no evidence that they are prepared to sustain the very large caseload increases that would be required to fill the gaps left after Planned Parenthood affiliates are excluded,” the study said.
Janek must feel very big, taking on Washington this way. Of course, he’s playing politics with poor women, who have few advocates in the Texas state legislature. So really, that makes Janek nothing more than a power-drunk bully.
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