Texas’ Health Care War Against Planned Parenthood

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On Monday October 19th, Texas’s Health and and Human Services Commission announced that it would end its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood, in response to the undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group several months ago. In a letter to the reproductive health care provider, the state accused the group of violating terms in the Medicaid contract due to evidence from the videos. Texas claimed “that Planned Parenthood alters the timing or method of abortions in order to procure tissue for donation, that it does not follow proper safety precautions and that it failed to properly train its staff in ‘infection control and barrier precautions’. It also stated that The State has determined that Planned Parenthood and its known affiliates “are no longer capable of performing medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner.”

This comes after many conservative Republicans, including presidential candidate Carly Fiorino, claim that the health care provider is profiting off of aborted fetuses for medical research. Planned Parenthood has continuously denied this fact, saying that the only compensation it receives are funds to cover transportation and processing.

This is an injustice, not only because Republicans continue to attack an organization that provides important healthcare services, but also because this move affects the people who need healthcare the most—those from low-income backgrounds. Texas claims the termination of Medicare won’t affect them and that there are “thousands of alternate providers in Texas, including federally qualified health centers, Medicaid-certified rural health clinics and other health care providers across the State that participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program and Medicaid.”

However, in 2013, Texas barred Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women’s Health Program. When the organization was excluded, the Program served 30,000 less women. If this doesn’t say something, then nothing else does.

Planned Parenthood provides cancer screenings and treatment, as well as other preventative care that is necessary and accessible. Despite numerous claims that the released abortion videos are fake and that the organization receives no compensation for tissue used for medical research, as well as no government funding for abortions, Republicans are willing to ignore these facts just because it suits their religious beliefs.

How can women who can barely pay their bills, who rely on programs like Medicaid for their well being, expect to take care of themselves if they aren’t given the resources to do so? Whether they look to Planned Parenthood for abortions, family planning or healthcare, they should have access to resources that help them with their decisions.

Women will continue to get abortions, whether or not some politician tries to do away with the practice  or not. By cutting off access to safe, regulated abortions, women will be forced to have unsafe, often life threatening abortions. On the other hand, women who are forced to have children they cannot afford to care will then be judged, by those same politicians, for being bad mothers or relying too much on the government for “handouts.” Either way, they are looked down on. It’s time to stop targeting Planned Parenthood for one part of their services (or at all really) when the larger part helps thousands of women. Shutting it down won’t help anyone.

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