Gov. Perry announces state-run version of Women's Health Program - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Perry announces state-run version of Women's Health Program

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Amarillo, TX - More than one hundred thousand low-income and uninsured women could stand to lose some health coverage by the end of the year, depending on the outcome of an ongoing legal battle between Planned Parenthood, the state of Texas, and the federal government.

The Women's Health Program provides health services to about 127,000 low-income and uninsured women in Texas, and currently receives 90% of its $40 million annual budget through Medicaid, which also funds Planned Parenthood.

Earlier today (Oct. 31), Governor Rick Perry announced the state is ready to implement a totally state-funded version of the Women's Health Program, as per a federally-mandated November 1 deadline, saying,

"We've created a program that not only meets the needs of Texas women, but also respects life, honors the will of Texas voters, and ensures no taxpayer money goes to abortion providers and their affiliates."

No federal or state law allows taxpayer money to be used to directly fund abortions.

Governor Perry has repeatedly rejected federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Texas, on grounds that forcing a state to support any entity that provides or promotes abortions would constitute a violation of states' rights.

In March, Texas filed for a Medicaid waiver, which was ultimately denied.

Planned Parenthood shot back with a lawsuit of its own, saying excluding them would be unconstitutional.  And the federal government says if Texas does not accept Medicaid's conditions, it will pull funding for the Women's Health Program.  The Obama administration says it will not fund the WHP past December 31.

Texas should be able to independently fund the WHP with relative ease, but for the hundreds of thousands of women across the state who rely on Planned Parenthood as their sole health provider may have few options if federal funding ends.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured women in the nation at 34%, and the second-highest rate of unintended pregnancies.

About 31% of women in Potter County are uninsured.

To read the governor's full statement or a report from George Washington University analyzing the impact of the theoretical loss of the WHP, or to learn more about the program, follow the links attached to this story.