Re: “Texas Planned Parenthood Supporters Decry New Rules for Women’s Health Program
” [Newsdesk blog, Sept. 5]: The new regulations for the Women’s Health Program defy logic – and the suffering they cause will be a lasting legacy to lawmakers’ shortsighted and incredibly cruel political decisions. It’s the same gag rule that hurts women around the world every time it’s reinstated.
In a time when more than half of Texas births are paid for by Medicaid, the last thing any fiscally responsible lawmaker should do is slash family planning funding. Yet that’s exactly what Texas lawmakers have done. Family planning prevents unintended pregnancy. It helps prevent abortion. And it saves money – an estimated $4 in Medicaid expenditures for every $1 invested. Why does Gov. Perry oppose any of those things?
Meanwhile, on Nov. 1, 50,000 Texas women who’ve relied on Planned Parenthood will be left with no health care provider. How many of those women will have unintended pregnancies, undiagnosed infections, and untreated cancers? How much will that cost in suffering and deferred medical expenses? Only time will tell. And lower-income women lucky enough to still have providers will receive partial information at best when their doctors are forbidden to even utter the word “abortion.”
Just like it does overseas, the new rule disqualifies one of the most experienced and effective providers, interferes with the doctor/patient relationship, and forces health care providers to make an impossible choice. They can either deny their patients complete and accurate information about all options, or they can sacrifice the funding necessary to provide family planning services. Either choice hurts the people they serve – women and families who are already struggling.
They deserve better.