Obama administration does end run around Texas law defunding Planned Parenthood
Co-authored with John Jalsevac
AUSTIN, March 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – President Obama seems determined to fund Planned Parenthood any way he can. After Texas passed a law forbidding state Medicaid funds to be used at facilities that perform abortions, the Obama administration cut off federal funding for the program in the state.
Rather than cave in to get the money back, Texas formed its own state health program for the poor, a program that offers health care, but not abortion.
Now, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sidestepped the state’s efforts to defund abortion clinics in Title X, giving $13 million in Title X money that would normally go to the state directly to the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas (WHFPT), a coalition of abortion and women’s health care providers which includes Planned Parenthood.
The Obama administration’s decision to give the money directly to the “family planning” organizations was made after Texas introduced rules that prioritized the Title X funding, putting organizations that provide abortions at the bottom of the list. Federal law prohibits states from excluding abortion-providing organizations from Title X funding altogether, but the prioritization had the practical effect of stripping abortion-providers of the funding.
John Seago, the legislative director for Texas Right to Life said that the Obama administration’s move came as no surprise to his organization.
“We knew that this was where it was headed,” he told LifeSiteNews.com. “But our responsibility as a state is to make sure that we are not responsible for using taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry.
“We did what we could legally, and how the pro-abortion administration in D.C. reacts is not our responsibility.”
According to Seago, the state's efforts to defund abortion providers has resulted in the closure of 13 Planned Parenthood clinics.
“Texas has been pretty clear on where it stands with giving tax dollars to abortion providers and their affiliates. This is clearly another attempt by the Obama administration to circumvent the will of Texans,” Lucy Nashed, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, told the Dallas News. “It’s disappointing that the administration would put their political agenda ahead of the preservation of human life and ahead of Texas taxpayers and lawmakers.”
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WHPFT CEO Fran Hagerty told the Austin Chronicle she was “thrilled” to receive news of the HHS payout by e-mail over the weekend. “We are all ready and eager for this opportunity to provide family planning care,” she said.
This is not the first time that the Obama administration has side-stepped the deliberate efforts of a state to stop funding abortion providers. Similar moves were made to fund Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.