Governor Perry spoke strong words for President Obama last week during a conference call with Texas Right to Life PAC and over 3,000 Pro-Life participants.
Perry criticized Obama for “ramming” his abortion agenda down Texas’ throat earlier this year by cutting off all federal Medicaid funding to a healthcare program, because Texas lawmakers banned abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, from participation.
Obama argued that the ban was unconstitutional because states do not have the power to exclude providers and directed the Center for Medicaid Services to enforce this never-before-heard-of rule accordingly.
Although Obama withdrew federal support of the program, which provides preventative care to about 30,000 Texan women every year, Perry and other state leaders pledged to keep the program running with state funds, while still enforcing the ban on abortion providers and affiliates.
“Texas wants to continue our Women’s Health Program because the program offers legitimate and needed services,” Perry said, “but we can’t allow state funds to flow into these abortion affiliates.”
Perry explained that, with the help of Texas Right to Life, he and the Texas legislature excluded abortion providers and affiliates from the program because they want to “use every dollar we have to maximize our wide range of services for those who really need to be served. “We have a responsibility to keep our taxpayers’ dollars out of the organizations that are affiliated with abortion providers.”
Following the Governor’s announcement that Texas would keep the program running without federal help, all nine Planned Parenthood Texas state affiliates filed a joint lawsuit against Texas to keep themselves in the program. While the lawsuit is still in progress, Planned Parenthood is echoing President Obama’s rhetoric that the state cannot discriminate against them.
But Perry explained that “states pick and choose between providers all the time for various programs and contracts,” and that Planned Parenthood simply “happens to be best friends with the President of the United States.”
“This is a case of clear-cut, straight-out politics,” he said.
Before Planned Parenthood was banned, the organization disproportionately consumed 40 percent of the Women’s Health Program budget. To ensure that there are no gaps in services under the new state-run version of the program, the Governor’s office and the Health and Human Services Commissioner have identified an additional 2,500 non-abortion affiliated providers with 4,600 locations eligible to participate in the Women’s Health Program instead of Planned Parenthood.