FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The fight for the Women’s Health Program in Texas continued Saturday as dozens of people gathered for a rally in Fort Worth’s Magnolia Green Park.
The so-called coalition of healthcare advocates drove into the park in the ‘Women’s Health Express’ bus for a rally to gain support.
“We are here to demand that the Women’s Healthcare Program through Medicaid has funding restored to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the state of Texas,” said Tori Adams, a board member of Planned Parenthood of North Texas.
During the last legislative session lawmakers voted to cut Medicaid funding to agencies affiliated with abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. In turn, the federal government said they would cut Medicaid funding to Texas, for not allowing women to choose their own healthcare providers.
State Senator Wendy Davis made a personal plea to the Fort Worth crowd. “I utilized the services of Planned Parenthood for several years. I, like so many poor women, relied on that as my only source of healthcare,” Davis said.
Davis was a single teenage mother and said she’s grateful Planned Parenthood offered her birth control options.
Planned Parenthood said 90% of the work they do is preventative care, such as cancer and breast screenings. Forty percent of the low-income women who utilize the Women’s Health Program, choose Planned Parenthood for their healthcare.
“Texans don’t want Planned Parenthood, a known abortion provider, to be involved in it,” said Gov. Perry.
Perry vowed to continue to Women’s Health Program and provide care for some 130,000 low-income women, with or without the federal funding. The program costs about $40 million and the federal government covers roughly 90% if that.
“This program is not going away. Those people that are out there trying to say that we are trying to kill this program are dead wrong.” Perry told reporters.
The Northeast Tarrant Tea Party supports Perry’s actions saying, “In this situation, the federal government is trying to coerce the state to spend tax dollars that would in direct conflict to a state law that was passed. We disagree with the federal government’s position that they have the right to supersede state’s rights.”
But big question is where Perry will get the money to continue to provide the same level of care. The governor declined to say where the funding would come from or where cuts from other departments would be made to continue the program.
Meanwhile, some Texans say the losers in this political standoff are the low-income women who need healthcare.
“There are 130,000 women that are going to lose their opportunity to make decisions about their bodies because of this cut in the Women’s Health Program and that is wrong,” said Sen. Davis.
The “Women’s Health Express” will make stops in Denton, Dallas and Lubbock.
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