Perry vs. Dems on funding loss
Well, there he goes again. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, after rejecting federal guidelines for Texas receiving 9- to-1 federal-state matching funds for women’s reproductive health, blames Washington for Texas’s $35 million loss.
The losers are poor Texas women, plus the rest of us. Not only will it cost us more in the short run, it will cost us more in the long run, as more unwanted pregnancies and abortions, are the result.
Perry and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature want to de-fund Planned Parenthood, aimed at stamping out abortions, even though state and federal laws already prohibit spending tax dollars on abortions.
Planned Parenthood in Texas doesn’t spend tax dollars on abortions, and its facilities that offer them are separately funded.
Perry’s continuing attempt to appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party already has cut medical care for 300,000 women in the current budget. This new turndown of federal funds will un-fund another 130,000 women.
Perry’s actions – or inactions – helped drive well-known rhythm and blues singer/ pianist/songwriter Marcia Ball to “Seeing Red.”
Ball is the nucleus of a group of women, and men, appalled at Perry’s “War on Women,” as they call it. She invited people to show up in red shirts at the front gate to the capitol from noon to 2 p.m. the first three Tuesdays in March. On the first Tuesday, March 6, several hundred red-shirted folks showed up.
“I just realized how harmful the policies of defunding women’s healthcare are, and this last round was the tipping point for me,” Ball told The Texas Observer.
“When Perry instructed (Health and Human Services Commissioner) Tom Suehs to create the ruling that will lose us the 9-to-1 ratio of federal money to state money that we need, when I realized that the cuts they did last year defunded the People’s Community Clinic and El Buen Samaritano and the clinics at Parkland Hospital and the safety nets that people have, I guess I just woke up.
“I’m like everybody else out here. I have a job, I have a family, I have other responsibilities. I go through my days wishing that something would happen, wishing that I could do something.
“We’re just making our voices heard.“
Earlier March 6, the Austin American- Statesman carried side-by-side opinion columns by Perry and by five Democratic state representatives from Austin.
“(T)he (Obama) administration’s stated intention to reject the Texas program reflects nothing more than its pro-abortion agenda,” Perry wrote. “It is a blatant pander to the president’s liberal base, which has made Planned Parenthood’s abortion services a celebrated cause.”
Perry said later he’d find the money for the health services somewhere, but didn’t say where.
Perry has based his argument on States’ Rights: the 10th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution reserves to the states those powers not specifically given to the federal government.
But a growing number of people think Perry is defending not “States’ Rights” but “States’ Wrongs.”
In their column next to Perry’s, the Democrats in the Travis County delegation to the Texas House – Dawnna Dukes, Donna Howard, Elliott Naishtat, Eddie Rodriguez and Mark Strama – gave their take on Perry’s actions.
“Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign may be over, but his politically motivated war on women continues,” they began.
Perry’s turning down the federal funds “is a targeted effort to block Planned Parenthood’s non-profit health centers from participating in a vital and cost-saving program that provides not just birth control, but also life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests and basic health exams to uninsured, low-income Texas women.
“Nearly 45 percent of the women who receive health screenings through this program do so at a Planned Parenthood health center,” the group said.
“Perry may score political points in some circles when he cuts programs for women’s health care, but let’s be clear: This is not about abortion.
“The Medicaid Women’s Health Program does not fund abortion services, nor does it fund health centers that provide abortions.
“If anything, elimination of this program will increase the number of abortions by closing health centers that provide affordable and accessible birth control to help prevent unintended pregnancies – the leading cause of abortion.
“Per Texas law, Planned Parenthood health centers that provide safe, legal abortion services are separate, self-pay entities that are already precluded from participating in the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. . . .
“There is only one reasonable conclusion: This is all about politics.
“The governor will spin this as Washington’s fault,” the state representatives wrote, but said, “Perry boasted on the campaign trail about eliminating two-thirds of the funding for women’s health last session,” cutting 300,000 women, and now another 130,000.
“This isn’t about Texas versus Washington,” the representatives wrote. “This is about Perry versus low-income, uninsured Texas women.”
Contact McNeely at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 458- 2963.