It wasn’t until this past week that I was informed the Texas Women’s Healthcare Program from Planned Parenthood was null in void providing free birth control, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease testing and a plethora of other women’s services for low-income women. I was not informed via telephone, e-mail, nor mail, but when I went to the pharmacy, as I did the month before, to pick up my birth control and the pharmacist told me the WHP no longer covered my birth control. The cost of Loestrin 24 went from free to $90 per month and $1,080 for one year. I wasn’t the only one shocked by this WHP, but also another friend’s birth control that was now was $120 per month, $1,440 for one year. It is absolutely impossible to afford birth control as a college student at that price. So, I decided to research why funds were cut for WHP.
Planned Parenthood recently celebrated its 95th anniversary as one of the most trusted health providers for women across the nation and worldwide. Not soon after, Texas cut funds for programs that provided abortion services from the Medicaid program. Planned Parenthood recently filed a lawsuit against the state for violating the constitutional rights of women and overstepping their bounds as stated in the Texas Tribune.
"Its filers argue the rule violates clinics’ rights by putting an “unconstitutional condition on their participation” in the Women’s Health Program. It also alleges that the Health and Human Services Commission, which is enforcing the rule, “overstepped its authority in adopting a rule that conflicts with the purpose of the laws that created the program."
Planned Parenthood serves 130,000 women each year all over the state at 44 facilities providing contraception and cancer screenings among other free services. Austin has two Planned Parenthood clinics; the one in central Austin accepting women’s Medicaid. Legislature cut $30 million from Planned Parenthood forcing the organization to no longer provide free services. Rick Perry stated that the state will replace the federal funding in order for the program to continue, but has yet to explain how the funds will be replaced. Planned Parenthood locations have already begun closing across the state due to lack of funding. Many of the 130,000 women do not have the funds to receive healthcare elsewhere and are forced to go without because of the new enforcement.
Planned Parenthood attacks Mitt Romney for threatening to cut federal funding if elected president despite the services it provides.
As one of the 130,000 women that depend on Planned Parenthood for women’s healthcare, I hope the state will find funding to support the programs it provides and reinstate its services. Several Planned Parenthoods do not offer abortion services, but services specific to the overall well-being of a woman.