Gov. Rick Perry joined the rising commotion on Thursday over the expected demise of the Texas' Women's Health Program, firing off an editorial accusing the Obama administration of putting abortion politics over health care. It's the same charge that abortion rights activists have made against Republican Texas lawmakers, who banned Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the program, a move the feds have said prevents them from renewing it.
In his editorial, Perry said it's the Obama administration, not the state, that plans to cancel the 5-year-old program, which provides contraception and well-woman exams for more than 130,000 women each year.
"The administration’s stated intention to reject the Texas program reflects nothing more than its pro-abortion agenda, and is a blatant pander to the president’s liberal base, which has made Planned Parenthood’s abortion services a celebrated cause," he wrote.
Perry's opponents say Republican lawmakers — who would rather lose the program than allow Planned Parenthood clinics to participate — are to blame.
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"For many women, this program is the sole source of routine health exams and screenings," state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, wrote in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking for the current program to be extended past its late March deadline. "Our state already faces a shortage of primary care providers. ... Most likely, [women] will have to travel further and wait longer for an appointment. Because of this, women may not seek preventive health services or treatment, putting their health at risk."
In his editorial, Perry said that Planned Parenthood clinics represent "less than 2 percent" of the more than 2,500 providers enrolled in the Women's Health Program. That's true, but it doesn't mention another statistic, that those 44 registered Planned Parenthood clinics currently serve 40 percent of the 130,000 women in the program.
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