Texas Will Apply for Medicaid Exemption
This article originally appeared in this issue of the WSR: 2017-05-24

The state of Texas understands that the citizens of the United States elected a new president last November. He is now running an administration that thinks completely differently from the Obama administration. Planned Parenthood is upset.

Upset is too mild a word. Outraged might be better.

You see, while Obama was in office, Texas tried several times to defund Planned Parenthood. Texas did not want to use any money from the federal government to fund the largest abortion chain in the nation, so it passed several laws to accomplish that. Planned Parenthood took the state to court every time; the Obama administration sided with Planned Parenthood; and the state lost. Planned Parenthood kept its funding.

Finally, Texas refused to take the federal money, started its own program with Texas taxpayer money—the Healthy Texas Women Program—and excluded Planned Parenthood. Mission accomplished.

Now it is 2017 and the Trump administration is in Washington, DC. By the end of June, Texas will file a Medicaid waiver request to obtain Medicaid funding over five years to largely cover the cost of its state-funded Healthy Texas Women Program without requiring that Planned Parenthood be a part of the program. The initial reaction from the Trump administration indicates that it will look favorably on the request and may provide the funds.

The main worry of Planned Parenthood is not the loss of funds in Texas; it already gets none from the state program. The real worry is that, if Texas gets the okay, other states can do exactly the same thing and defund Planned Parenthood without losing federal government money. Planned Parenthood is afraid this will open the door to massive defunding of Planned Parenthood in states all across the country.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Cecile Richards sent a panic e-mail to PP’s supporters sounding the alarm. Her e-mail read, in part: 

The Texas Health and Human Services Department is requesting federal funding for a program that was specifically created to block access to care at Planned Parenthood—what they call the "Healthy Texas Women Program." . . . And if they get their way, it would set a dangerous precedent for countless other states to follow. All they need is for their allies in the Trump administration—including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price—to give their anti-women's health plan the green light. . . . This is a backdoor to the same Planned Parenthood "defund" out-of-touch politicians are proposing in Congress—and the only way we can stop it is by raising a national outcry. . . . This fight is just beginning, and we're going to need you and everyone who cares about women's health and rights to stand with us. 

Planned Parenthood is scared and is doing everything it can to prevent this Texas Medicaid waiver from being approved. Tom Price, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, needs to hear from you.

Sign our petition to Secretary Price and help put an end to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.