Texas Adopts Anti-Abortion Rules That Will Cut Health Care Services To Thousands Of Women

The Texas Health and Human Services department on Thursday adopted rules that will end federal funding to their Women’s Health Program, denying thousands of low-income women medical care.

The rules require Texas’s HHS to stop giving funding to any organization considered an “abortion affiliate” — a loose definition for groups that tell women where they can get an abortion, provide informational material about abortion, or otherwise are related to an abortion provider in any way. In adopting these rules, the Texas HHS has forfeited federal funding for the clinics that provide essential health services to low-income women in the state, since that money is dedicated with the caveat that the funds cannot be selectively applied. Although Texas lawmakers are employing a tactic primarily intended to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood, the decision is having far-reaching effects in the state.

Already, women’s health clinics in Texas are feeling the crunch of the new regulations. Clinics are being forced to provide less effective forms of birth control, increasing the chances that the low-income women who will rely on their care will get pregnant. And the funding cuts have forced at least fifty clinics that are unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood to close their doors.

But the problems are expected to get even worse. While 160,000 women in the state already are forgoing care because of the budget cuts, an additional 100 providers (PDF) are expected to lose funding because of the HHS decision, cutting off care to an even greater number of poor Texas women.