If you’re a woman and you use Planned Parenthood in Texas for health care, you might have to go somewhere else for cancer screenings if Texas lawmakers have their way. To conservative Republican lawmakers, Planned Parenthood is an evil empire determined to provide abortions to anyone they can, despite the fact that abortion services are a very, very small portion of what the organization actually does.
From The Texas Tribune:
Planned Parenthood would be ousted from the state’s program to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women under the budget compromise approved by a House-Senate conference committee Wednesday.
A tiered funding system that the Texas Senate sought for the joint federal-state Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program — which provides cancer screenings for poor, uninsured women — was meant to effectively eliminate Planned Parenthood’s role in the program. (Source)
Republican lawmakers in Texas and across the country are so wound up about abortion and so intent on demonizing Planned Parenthood to their constituents, they’re willing to cut off cancer screenings to the people who can’t afford them otherwise, purely for political points.
Due to the fact that Texas has an overwhelmingly large Republican majority in their legislature and a Republican as governor, this proposed budget will likely pass and make it harder for poor and uninsured women to get lifesaving medical tests. This is also a Republican-run state that has refused to accept Medicaid expansion which would extend health care coverage to nearly a million poor people in Texas.
This isn’t something new for them either. The constant narrative that Planned Parenthood is an abortion empire is something that conservative lawmakers and activists have been pushing for decades – and it isn’t the first time this has been done in Texas.
The Republican-led Legislature slashed the state’s budget for family planning by two-thirds in 2011 in an effort to prevent health providers even loosely affiliated with abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, from receiving state tax dollars.
Ousting Planned Parenthood from the joint state-federal Medicaid Women’s Health Program cost the state a $9-to-$1 match from the federal government, forcing state health officials to restart the program as the state-financed Texas Women’s Health Program to keep Planned Parenthood from participating. (Source)
Since I have family members who are anti-abortion activists and I was raised in a very religious and conservative household, I understand the conservative opposition to abortion, but denying women access to cancer screenings and other preventative care which are in no way related to abortion services is beyond absurd.
The overwhelming majority of services that Planned Parenthood provides are preventative, and abortions are only a miniscule 3% – but even if Planned Parenthood performed zero abortions, conservatives would still be out to shut them down. Why? Because Planned Parenthood provides screenings and treatments for STDs, as well as contraceptives which prevent pregnancies from happening in the first place. In the mindset of many religious conservatives, contraception is “going against God’s plan” and STDs are a punishment for not keeping your legs closed, if you’re a woman.
Of course, too many people will skim over this article (or just read the headline) and respond with “let Texas secede” or a variety of other remarks about how conservatives are evil, stupid, etc. We can keep being outraged, and we can keep talking about this all we want, but at the end of the day, the only way to stop the attacks on women’s health care is get out the vote and educate people. We have the numbers and the power to turn back the conservative tide; it’s a pity that too many people can’t be bothered to do something as simple as voting.
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