Feds Stop Health Care Funding Over Abortion Fight

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fumes after Kathleen Sebelius announces decision
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2012 2:50 PM CST
In this Oct. 31, 2011 file photo, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is seen in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

(Newser) – Last year, Texas announced it would stop paying Planned Parenthood to provide women's health care. Yesterday the feds responded, saying they would withhold funding for a Texas program that provides health care to more than 100,000 low-income women, MSNBC reports. Texas Gov. Rick Perry fumed, calling it an "egregious federal overreach." But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said it was no surprise: "They knew ... they are not allowed to deny women the right to choose."

At issue is access to abortion. While public dollars don't pay for them, critics say that hiring Planned Parenthood for other health services gave the abortion provider a financial boost. But cutting off Planned Parenthood violated a key Medicaid rule: that women choose their source of health care. Now 130,000 low-income Texas women may lose access to exams and contraceptives, but Texas officials promise to find the funding elsewhere. Sebelius says federal funding will phase out gradually so women can find health care somewhere else.

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