I could do a wrap-up of the massive amount of terrible anti-choice stuff that has gone down in Texas in 2012 but I don’t need to. It can all be encapsulated very nicely into a story that broke today, this final day of 2012.
A state district judge refused on Monday to grant a temporary restraining order allowing Planned Parenthood clinics to participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program. The Jan. 1 launch of the program can proceed as planned, the judge ruled, until a trial challenging the state’s rule excluding Planned Parenthood is held on Jan. 11.
“We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s latest attempt to skirt state law,” said Lauren Bean, a spokesperson for the Texas attorney general’s office, in an email. Bean said the state “will continue to defend the Texas Legislature’s decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women’s Health Program.”
Banning Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program in Texas is a BIG DEAL: Of the 110,000 people who use the program, which exists to help low-income Texans get the medical care they need, 48,000 go to Planned Parenthood. De-funding the WHP in order to hurt Planned Parenthood only serves to ACTUALLY hurt 48,000 Texans. Planned Parenthood as an organization will survive, though individual Planned Parenthood locations in Texas will not (but who needs jobs or health care, am I right?).
If you want to know if the Texas legislature and Rick Perry’s administration care about Texans, there is your answer. It’s pretty simple, no mixed messages involved. It is MORE important to these people to attempt to de-fund PP in the state of Texas and to cripple the WHP than it is to make sure that low-income Texans get access to affordable health care. You can’t even be pregnant and participate in the WHP. This is so ludicrous and mean and morally bankrupt. And typical.
THIS is reproductive health in Texas in 2012. It is as terrible as the state of reproductive rights.
And this will be reproductive health in 2013:
“In many rural areas, small towns and the poorer areas of the biggest cities, the Planned Parenthood clinic is either the only provider of such services or provides the vast majority,” Schenkkan told reporters after last Friday’s hearing. He said that patients would have to travel greater distances, wait weeks for an available appointment or attempt to self-pay for services from the provider of their choice, Planned Parenthood, if those clinics were excluded.
Some Planned Parenthood clinics — potentially three of four clinics in Hidalgo County, for example — would be forced to close immediately if they were not allowed to participate, he said, because the majority of their patients are enrolled in the Women’s Health Program. All Planned Parenthood clinics would have to begin charging for services currently provided to poor women for free, he said.
“That would cause many of these women not to seek care at all,” or attempt to pay for services out of pocket, Schenkkan argued in court. “Some of those women will die. Others will suffer devastating impacts to their health.”
What a way to end the year and start the new one.