The Planned Parenthood program recently took a major hit in Texas, with a new anti-abortion ruling that matches a recent trend in women›s healthcare. August 21st, the 5th Circuit of Appeals Court in New Orleans ruled that Texas Women›s Health Program may «deny WHP funds from organizations that promote elective abortions.» In layman›s terms, this means organizations, such as Planned Parenthood clinics, that, among other things, offer abortions to women, won›t receive any of the state or federal funding from Texas Women›s Health Program.
The state and federally funded Women›s Health Program provides health services to low-income women. It supports hospitals and programs like Planned Parenthood. In April, Planned Parenthood won a ban against the proposed funding cuts, but this ban has now been overturned by the appeals court. The court ruled that the state of Texas had the right to fund, or not fund, health care providers as it saw fit, as it should have control of the content of its own health program.
While Governor Rick Perry said this ruling is «a win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state›s priority to protect life,» protestors gathered outside Texas›s capitol building on the 25th. More than 200 people protested the ruling with the belief that women’s health should not be a matter for politics.
Melaney A. Linton, the president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc., released an official statement that emphasized how Planned Parenthood doesn›t just offer abortions, but instead tries to focus on keeping women and families healthy. «The state›s ongoing efforts jeopardize the health of tens of thousands of Texas women,» the statement read, and went on «it›s about the women who rely on us for basic health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and annual exams.» However, Planned Parenthood is known as the U.S.›s leading provider of abortions and its most outspoken group for abortion rights.
This ruling might cause the Texas Women›s Health Program to lose much of its federal funding, which is currently 90 percent of its funding. Governor Perry said that the program will be able to survive with the loss of federal funding, and asserted that the federal decision to defund the program is a «disregard for our state law.»
Abortion has become a hot topic for this year›s election. Twenty-one states have laws that limit the right to have an abortion, and changes to the nation›s health care program are consistently debated.
In Kentucky, the statutory definition of a legal abortion is that the «M.D. determines abortion is necessary in his clinical judgment and with second opinion of M.D. and mother supplies informed consent. Permissible during first trimester; after viability of fetus, necessary to preserve life or health of mother.» It›s a narrow definition most Americans have strong opinions about. In general, abortion is not a topic people are ambivalent about.
There are four Planned Parenthood health centers and clinics in Kentucky, and they are funded by Title X Funds, private donations, patient payments and insurance reimbursements. Only two of these clinics offer abortion referrals. As of February, the Kentucky Senate approved a restriction that requires women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound before the abortion, as well as an informed consent counseling session. Further action hasn’t been taken, as the legislature has adjourned.
The appeal court›s ruling is one of the many changes that have happened in women›s health care lately. The Affordable Health Care Act offered many new benefits to women, but this act has been challenged by many states. Many states are attempting to follow in Texas›s footsteps and limit the amount of funding this act provides to programs that offer abortions or are changing the definition of a legal abortion.
Photo courtesy Planned Parenthood