During an interview on MSNBC this morning, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) voiced rare support for Planned Parenthood, noting that the organization provides much-needed preventive care to low-income women. The outgoing Texas senator also condemned a recently-enacted Texas law that prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating in the Medicaid program and providing health care services to some 130,000 women. The controversial measure has led the federal government to officially stop funding the Texas Women’s Health Program, but Gov. Rick Perry (R) insists that the state will fill the funding gap using state funds.
Hutchison criticized Perry’s decision to turn his back on the federal dollars, which she argued, provide critical care to lower-income women:
HUTCHISON: We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low income women to have health care services. We cannot. We keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget, which is already being cut in key areas like education. I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so we can have our share — our fair share not more — of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health care services.
TODD: So it sounds like you think he should not be excluding Planned Parenthood?
HUTCHISON: I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the health care — the preventive health care and they’re doing that, we need to provide those services, absolutely.