This move upends longstanding federal law — setting a dangerous precedent for other states
Nearly 45,000 people lost access to care after Texas barred Planned Parenthood
Washington D.C. — Today, the Trump administration rewarded Texas’s long-standing effort to cut off people’s access to health care. The administration approved Texas’ request to implement a Medicaid family planning program that bars patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood and other sexual and reproductive health care providers that also provide abortion. This is the first time the federal government has allowed a state to explicitly waive Medicaid’s free choice of provider for family planning provision. This move upends longstanding federal law and sets a dangerous precedent for other states to pursue similar state-level measures, with grim consequences for health care access nationwide.
By approving Texas’ request, the Trump administration puts federal funding behind a failed program that was designed to limit people’s access to health care and directly resulted in people losing health care. Because federal law safeguards the right of Medicaid patients to access reproductive health care at the qualified provider of their choice, six years ago, Texas rejected federal funding for its state family planning program and launched a fully state-funded program in order to bar access to care at Planned Parenthood. Prior to this, and draconian family planning cuts in 2011, Planned Parenthood affiliates served more than 40 percent of patients in the program.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This move is reckless and repugnant. The Trump administration is willfully bending the rules to allow Texas to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood and is funding a failed program designed to limit access to reproductive health care. This dangerous decision opens the floodgates for other anti-abortion politicians to follow suit, putting health care at risk for people across the country. When Texas first barred Planned Parenthood from serving patients, nearly 40 percent fewer women got the health care they needed. Is that what the Trump administration wants to replicate across the country?
“Access to quality health care shouldn’t depend on who you are, how much you earn, or where you live. Yet, that’s the future the Trump administration is working to create. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting for our patients. We will never stop fighting until everyone has the right to control their own bodies and get the care they need.”
Statement from Dyana Limon-Mercado, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:
“The Lone Star State is once again in partnership with the Trump administration to drastically slash meaningful family planning and health services, while fostering a culture that is anti-women, anti-choice and anti-health care. This collaboration between Gov. Abbott and the Trump-Pence Administration shows how shockingly little value state leaders place on championing health care for Texas women. Planned Parenthood is now 1 million supporters strong in Texas and this year’s election is the most critical opportunity to elect leaders who will fight for a Texas that puts our health before scoring political points, and who will protect our constitutionally-protected right to safe, legal abortion."
Data from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) estimates that nearly 45,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screening, and other services through the program — a nearly 40 percent drop — than when Planned Parenthood participated in the program. There was also a 27 percent increase in births among women who lost access to injectable contraception through the program, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. As Mike Austin, chief executive, Midland Community Healthcare Services (MCHS), told The Guardian, “We are seeing a subsequent rise in STDs and a subsequent rise in unplanned pregnancies. And I’m sitting here going, ‘See? I told you so. This is what happens.’”
Since taking office, the Trump administration has been weakening the rules and upending longstanding federal law to cut off people’s access to health care. They tried to allow employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees — a policy that will be reviewed by the Supreme Court this term — attempted to take away health care from millions by repealing the Affordable Care Act, and forced Planned Parenthood out of Title X, the nation’s affordable birth control program. After so many failed attempts in Congress, now the administration is trying to go behind the scenes to allow state politicians to strip away access to health care for Medicaid patients.
Planned Parenthood provides important preventive health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and STI testing and treatment. Nationally, 75 percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), and at least 60 percent of Planned Parenthood patients access care through the Medicaid program. These approved waivers take away rights and freedoms from people who already face unequal and unfair treatment, including LGBTQ people, people of color, people with disabilities, and women. These groups are more likely to have lower incomes and rely on programs like Medicaid. Blocking access to Planned Parenthood and other providers can make it impossible to get the care they need.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.