The Lone Star state is reminding the Obama administration of its unofficial motto: “Don’t mess with Texas.”
On Thursday, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Thomas Suehs signed a rule at the behest of lawmakers and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that will formally ban Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion providers from participating in Texas’ Women’s Health Program.
The administration had threatened to revoke federal funding from the state-federal Medicaid program if Texas went through with the ban.
“The Obama administration is trying to force Texas to violate our own state laws or they will end a program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women,” said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry told The Texas Tribune. “This boils down to the rule of law — which the state of Texas respects and the Obama administration does not.”
According to The Tribune, if Texas and the administration are unable to broker a deal by the end of March, Texas’ Women’s Health Program will likely be terminated. (ELSEWHERE: Alabama Supreme Court takes on Roe v. Wade)
“No one’s politics should interfere with a woman’s access to health care. It is shameful that Governor Perry and Commissioner Suehs continue to politicize lifesaving breast cancer screenings and birth control access for low-income women,” Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast President and CEO Peter J. Durkin said in a statement.
According to Planned Parenthood, the state has put the health care of 130,000 women in “jeopardy.”
The Tribune reported that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will require Women’s Health Program providers to verify that they meet the new criteria and work to bring more providers to the program. They will further request another extension of the program from the federal government.
The new rules take effect March 14.