Last Friday, the Obama administration proved that it’s more than capable of cutting funds—in retaliation. As payback for Texas severing ties with Planned Parenthood, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised to take out her anger on the state’s low-income women. Starting this May, the government will phase out more than $30 million in health coverage for the most underprivileged people in the state—all because Texas wanted its citizens to have the benefit of unbiased care. The Obama administration decided to kill the funding for cancer, STD, and breast screenings because Gov. Rick Perry (R) dared to look beyond Planned Parenthood to providers who aren’t under congressional investigation.
Now, Gov. Perry is left to scrounge through his budget to fill the 90% program void created by the administration’s ideological blackmail. I was in a meeting with the Governor this weekend where he said he wouldn’t allow the poor of Texas to be held hostage by HHS. Earlier, he vowed to fund the program: “We’ll find the money,” Gov. Perry said.
But under federal law, he shouldn’t have to. Washington has always left it up to state leaders to decide who is and isn’t eligible for Medicaid funding. In this case, there are more than 4,000 providers in Texas who are ready to step in and provide the abortion-neutral services women need. “Why would the Obama administration take away access to hearth care for low-income Texas women? Because this administration puts funding for abortion providers… ahead of funding for women’s cancer screenings and other preventative health care… To me, this reflects a twisted set of values, not to mention a continued disregard for the basic concept of states’ rights,” Gov. Perry wrote in an op-ed. “If this debate were really about health care, the Obama administration would allow the Texas Women’s Health Program to continue.”
Unfortunately, this kind of ideological blackmail is becoming standard practice in this White House. We are witnessing this “conform or else” mentality across the President’s health care policy—whether it’s in the contraception mandate or meddling in state programs. Texas, meanwhile, says it will find a way to keep the Women’s Health Program operating until either Washington resolves the issue or the courts do. At least three lawsuits are already working their way through the system, challenging the President’s right to hold the funding ransom until leaders abide by his criteria.
Until they iron out those fundamental questions, Gov. Perry has an even stronger case for booting Planned Parenthood from its network now that it’s been accused of 87,075 cases of Medicaid fraud in Texas. Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic manager-turned-pro-life activist, is teaming up with Alliance Defense Fund to expose the group’s multi-million dollar scam, in which it allegedly billed the federal government for thousands of services it never provided. Extortion seems to be a recurring theme for the organization, which has faced similar charges in California, New York, and Washington.
Still, President Obama is sticking by the abortion giant. This is a man who threatened to shut down the entire government if a penny of federal funding was cut from the group. Now he’s willing to risk the health of 130,000 low-income women until Planned Parenthood gets its share. So when liberals say there is a “war on women,” they’re right. It’s being waged by President Obama.
- Family Research Council: Article Here