Low-income women in Texas can receive free services from Medicaid’s Women’s Health Program. These services include free birth control, pap smears, and screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes, STDs and high blood pressure, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. However, the accessibility to these services is being threatened by Texas politicians. In the last legislative session, the state legislature passed a bill to ban clinics that were merely affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the state’s Women’s Health Program. Clinics affected by this change include Planned Parenthood. Many of the Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide abortions, but do provide other women’s health services. In response to the state’s political games, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided to terminate about $30 million of federal funding for the Women’s Health Program.
State legislators unfairly targeted Planned Parenthood with this policy. They should stop putting poor women in the middle and fund Planned Parenthood because it provides healthcare to an underserved community. The state legislature has blocked women’s access to healthcare long enough and now it is letting the issue negatively influence the state economically. Instead of receiving the federal funds, which Texas deserves, Gov. Rick Perry has said that state funds will make up for the difference. However, the state faces a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall. This is a sad case for Texas. Legislators are limiting low-income women’s access to healthcare. It is a sickening political ploy that will hurt the whole state if it continues. The state is greatly affected by the health of low-income women. These are the women stuck in the cycle of poverty. Planned Parenthood provides these women with a free way to plan their families and take tests to detect illnesses sooner. This relieves the state of bigger healthcare bills that fall on Texas taxpayers, like ER visits. But maybe Texas legislators are too busy making political statements to see these benefits.