Perry promotes new women’s health program
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Speaking at the Lone Star Circle of Care Clinic in Georgetown Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry and Health and Human Services Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek said they have enough health care providers lined up and ready to go when the state-run women’s health program launches.
The program excludes Planned Parenthood and other affiliates of abortion providers, based on a recently-passed state law. The program was supposed to launch Thursday, but with court cases pending and federal dollars still coming in, it remains as is for now.
"We'll continue with the federal program until the courts say either let in Planned Parenthood, or other affiliate groups, or stop the program entirely,” Dr. Janek said. “In which case we would stop the program entirely and move ahead with the Texas Women's Program."
Perry says a Nov. 8 hearing on a temporary restraining order issued late last week by a Travis County Judge will answer a lot of questions about how to proceed.
"When this is all said and done, it's the women's health that really matters, and I would hope that Planned Parenthood would respect the will of the people of Texas and stop pursuing these court battles," Gov. Perry said.
Meanwhile, Sarah Wheat with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas said banning the non-profit would mean cutting out the single biggest participant in the program.
"What is certain is that if the governor succeeds and is able to exclude Planned Parenthood health centers from this program, we know at a minimum 40,000 women will go without health care screenings," Wheat said.
However, Wheat remains confident if Planned Parenthood is banned from the program, low-income women will still be able to continue getting care at their clinics.
"We've got tremendous support in the community, and so we'll continue to seek support,” she said. “We're a nonprofit. That's what enables us to see so many patients cost efficiently, because of the donations and support we have in the community."
Federal funding could continue until Dec. 31. Perry also said he remains hopeful federal Medicaid dollars will continue after that, despite the program's new guidelines.