Texas Slashes Family Planning Services So It Can Underfund Women’s Health Progam

In March, the federal government cut off funds to Texas’ Women’s Health Program because the state chose to exclude abortion providers from the program in violation of federal law. But even without federal funds, which made up 90 percent of the funding, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced the state would fund the Women’s Health Program on its own.

But to pay for the reduced services provided by the program, the governor announced that the state would cut other health services. Perry directed Tom Suehs, executive commissioner of the state’s Health and Human Services department, to cut $40.1 million in department services to make up the missing federal funds.

Cuts will come by reducing dental services, programs for the elderly, and administrative pay. Even with this money freed up, the Women’s Health Program will not be nearly as strong as it was with federal funding.

The $40.1 million reduction comes on top of cuts that lawmakers cut $73 million from the state’s family planning services budget in 2011. Even before Texas decided to ban Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program, women’s clinics around the state were already being forced to greatly reduce services or shut their doors entirely.

Ben Sherman