The Republican War on Women reaches Texas on International Women’s Day. The Texas state legislature reduced its already meager funding of women’s health by 2/3 last October, leading to the closing of clinics serving poor women around the state. Like much in Texas, the war on the poor is also something of a race war, with the rapidly growing Latino population joining the sizable African-American population in needing these services, while wealthy whites vote to cut them. But that wasn’t enough for the good people of Texas:
The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although the cuts also forced clinics that were not affiliated with the agency to close — and none of them, even the ones run by Planned Parenthood, performed abortions — supporters of the cutbacks said they were motivated by the fight against abortion.
Now, the same sentiment is likely to lead to a shutdown next week of another significant source of reproductive health care: the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which serves 130,000 women with grants to many clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers have said they would forgo the $35 million in federal money that finances the women’s health program in order to keep Planned Parenthood from getting any of it.
Today, on International Women’s Day, there’s no reason for women to be celebrating here in Texas — our rights and our basic access to healthcare is under attack.
25% of Texas women are uninsured, the highest rate of uninsured women in the country.
Texas has the 3rd highest rate of cervical cancer in the country — an easily diagnosed and treated disease if women have access to care.
In 2011, Rick Perry signed a budget that slashed funding for women’s health by 66%, resulting in 180,000 women losing access to preventative care.
By banning Planned Parenthood from receiving funds through Medicare’s Women’s Health Program, Perry will cause another 130,000 women to lose access to basic care.
This program Republicans are eliminating saves the state $42 million a year by preventing unwanted pregnancies.
It sure is a great time to be a woman in Texas! Yee haw!
Yee haw indeed.
Bonus points for anyone who knows the awesome Texas songwriter who wrote the lyric making up the title of this post.