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Texas Poised to Light Way for States to Defund Planned Parenthood

Texas is looking to the Trump Administration to approve a request that the state be permitted to exclude abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from receiving a portion of federal Medicaid funding.

The state is asking the Trump Administration to reverse former President Barack Obama’s decision to block $35 million a year after Texas refused to fund Planned Parenthood and then started its own Healthy Texas Women program without federal dollars.

“This would have implications nationwide if this gets approved,” said Jennifer Popik, federal legislative director with National Right to Life, according to The Hill. “For an administration with a pro-life focus, this is something they could do to divert funding from Planned Parenthood.”

Most of the federal dollars Planned Parenthood receives is through the Medicaid program, which is funded by the federal government but administrated in the states. The nation’s largest provider and promoter of abortion, however, also receives funds through the federal Title X family planning program.

In April, Trump signed a resolution that overturned the Obama-era rule, which forced states to provide family planning grants under Title X to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

“I think the president’s signature today is an important step and it shows that the president is keeping his campaign promises,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma. “This shows that we want states to be in charge of their own decision making.”

The resolution used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the Obama administration rule, enacted during the last days of the former president’s term.

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), who introduced the resolution in the House, said its purpose is to “affirm the right of states to fund the healthcare providers that best suit their needs, without fear of reprisal from their own federal government.”

Iowa and Missouri have recently created their own family planning programs that exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

In Texas, state officials would use the federal funding, resulting from the Trump administration’s approval of the request, to further enhance services in its Healthy Texas Women program.

“Increasing access to women’s health and family planning services is a priority in Texas,” officials wrote in their application, reports The Hill. “The [Healthy Texas Women] demonstration seeks to increase access to family services to avert unintended pregnancies.”

Trump has made four policy commitments to pro-life leaders:

  • Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women
  • Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions

About a dozen states have attempted to eliminate Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding in the wake of the release of videos that alleged the group’s profiteering from the sales of the body parts of aborted babies. These states have attempted to redirect the funding to other community healthcare centers that provide more expansive services – such as mammograms and prenatal care – than Planned Parenthood and outnumber the abortion chain by at least 20 to 1.

“We are very concerned about this proposal and how it might be received by this administration, which has been very hostile to women’s health and to women healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood,” said Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Danielle Wells referred to Texas’ request as an “underhanded attempt to cut off care at Planned Parenthood with devastating consequences for our patients.”

“Texas paints a grim picture of what health care access could look like nationwide if the Trump administration approves this waiver,” she said.

Though the abortion vendor continues to advertise itself as a “women’s health” organization, its latest annual report shows that its number of abortions performed, its profits, and its government funding have all increased over the past year, just as many of its non-abortion services – such as contraception and prenatal care – have dropped.

Planned Parenthood and its allies in government and media have criticized attempts to eliminate its taxpayer funding, stating the Hyde Amendment already bars the use of federal funds for the procedure.

In an interview with Breitbart News in 2015, however, Black responded:

They will say the money they’re given from the federal government through the states is not for abortions. They say on one side of the wall they’re doing preventive healthcare and on the other side of the wall they’re doing abortions in the same building. How do you say taxpayer money kept the lights going on one side of the building, but not on the other side? Anyone who looks at this reasonably knows exactly what is happening.

In March of 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that confirms Planned Parenthood and five other groups are using taxpayer funds to advocate for abortions as “reproductive healthcare.”

“This report confirms what we suspected all along: hard-earned taxpayer dollars continue to be used to promote abortions,” said Black. “The GAO study found that Planned Parenthood Federation of America alone – the nation’s largest abortion provider – spent about $1.5 billion in combined federal and state funding during this reporting period.”

The GOP Obamacare repeal/replacement plan is expected to include a provision that would eliminate much of Planned Parenthood’s funding for one year.

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