Texas’s motto is “Friendship” — but it ought to be “Persistence.” For the last several years, state officials have been more determined than anyone to keep Planned Parenthood’s hands off their tax dollars. Even when President Obama made it sting (stopping the flow of $35 million in federal Medicaid funding), then-Governor Rick Perry didn’t blink. Instead, he and the state’s conservatives turned around and created “Healthy Texas Woman,” a program that let them decide which providers are eligible for funding. Instead of funneling the money to Cecile Richards’s group, state leaders wrote their checks to health centers that don’t perform abortions. It was a strong stand — one that at least two other states replicated. Iowa and Missouri decided as recently as this year to forgo the millions in federal dollars so that they could defund Planned Parenthood.
Now, with Donald Trump in the White House, Texas is testing the waters by asking for their federal funding back — with the understanding that the state would still exclude abortion groups. Not surprisingly, the request has sent the Left into a panic. The liberal-leaning Guttmacher Institute bemoaned the fact that “If CMS [the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services] were to approve this waiver and offer federal funding for this program, it would open the floodgates for this to be implemented in other states.” Pro-lifers sure hope so. It should be up to the states to decide where their health care dollars go. And preferably, not to organizations that think abortion is health care.
Planned Parenthood was already in a bad mood over Congress’s push to defund them. Now, with the possibility of states like Texas doing the same, their staff is beside themselves. Spokeswoman Danielle Wells called it an “underhanded attempt to cut off care at Planned Parenthood.” But there’s nothing underhanded about it. Conservatives have been very open about their desire to shift money to groups that actually care for women with the tests, screenings, and information they need. Based on their annual report, the only service Planned Parenthood seems to excel at is abortion.
Somehow, Cecile Richards still manages to keep a straight face when she says abortion is a tiny fraction of Planned Parenthood’s business, but, as National Review points out, “this tired, bogus statistic has been debunked numerous times — including by left-leaning outlets like Slate and Washington Post. Despite repeating the three percent statistic, the new report lists 328,348 abortions in the U.S. during the 2015-16 fiscal year, up nearly 5,000” over the previous year.
Even more surprising, abortions now outnumber basic breast exams for the first time in Planned Parenthood’s history. That’s not difficult to believe since overall health screenings have dropped by half since 2011. Cancer exams, the go-to talking point for Planned Parenthood’s defenders, are down a whopping 16,974 at Richards’s clinics. Of course, the number of mammograms performed at Planned Parenthood stayed the same: zero. Even contraception counseling, the group’s bread-and-butter, fell by 136,244. They even saw 100,000 fewer patients than the year before! So, Texas isn’t the only one wondering: what exactly are our tax dollars buying?
LifeNews Note: Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.