AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today said he is unwilling to let more than 100,000 low-income Texas women pay the price for the Obama Administration's unwavering loyalty to abortion providers and their affiliates. The governor has instructed Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs to work with legislative leadership identify state funding to continue services provided by the Women's Health Program (WHP) if the Obama Administration follows through with their threat to cut federal funding and kick Texas women out of the program. Gov. Perry has also notified President Obama that we will not stand by as his administration attempts to violate states' rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
"I am directing you to begin working with legislative leadership to identify state funding to continue to provide these services, in full compliance with Texas law, should the Obama Administration make good on its threat to end the health care to these 100,000-plus women," Gov. Perry wrote to Commissioner Suehs. "Texans send a substantial amount of our tax dollars to Washington, DC, and it is unacceptable that the Obama Administration is denying Texas taxpayers the use of those dollars to fund this program, simply because of its pro-abortion agenda."
Texas will carry the costs from the time the Obama Administration cuts funding for the program until this impending decision is reversed, either by negotiated resolution or litigation.
"Your administration's attempt to violate states' rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by mandating which health providers the State of Texas must use is nothing more than an effort to continue to financially support abortion providers like Planned Parenthood and their affiliates," Gov. Perry wrote to President Obama. "The federal government should not be in the business of protecting abortion providers at the expense of the health of Texas women. Texans send a substantial amount of our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and it is unacceptable that your administration is denying Texas taxpayers the use of those dollars to fund this program simply because of your pro-abortion agenda."
The Texas Women's Health Program is a Medicaid waiver program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women, including screenings for breast and cervical cancer, diabetes and hypertension, among other services. First implemented in 2007, the program will end on March 31, if the federal government denies the Texas request for a waiver.
Under federal law, state leaders are left to administer the program and set criteria for who is considered a qualified provider. Consistent with state and federal law, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has developed the program to ensure continued access to care by qualified providers across Texas.
The Obama Administration, however, has indicated it will not approve the waiver application because Texas law excludes abortion providers and their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood. This is despite the fact Planned Parenthood represents less than two percent of enrolled providers statewide.