Planned Parenthood continues battle for federal funds
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Amy Kamp said the services of Planned Parenthood have had an impact on her life.
Earlier this year, she learned she has Human Papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer.
"The difference between access to cervical cancer prevention and the lack thereof is the difference between life or death for Texas women, the vast majority of whom will develop HPV at some point in their lifetimes,” Kamp said.
Kamp joined a chorus of more than 50 other women and women's health supporters who addressed a panel of state health leaders Tuesday.
They're asking the state to bring back federal funding through the Women's Health Program---money cut off to providers with ties to abortion services.
"We've been auditing them. There are no abortions being performed by these people,” Rep. Donna Howard said. “They are not associated in any way with providing abortions, so it really appears to be a solution in search of a problem."
Rep. Howard, a Democrat, says several Texas Planned Parenthood chapters disassociated with the national organization to comply with the new state law, but the state refuses to include those clinics in the Women's Health Program.
The cuts include the Central Texas chapter of Planned Parenthood run by Sarah Wheat. She says she was forced to merge with other chapters Tuesday morning just to stay afloat.
"Now, the question is: Are there other providers that would step in and play the role that Planned Parenthood is?" she said.
Wheat cites a recent George Washington University report that finds it likely won't be possible. Now, the nonprofit is looking to private donations.
"The local community has stepped in and enabled us to keep our doors open and keep providing health services," Wheat said.
Services that those like Amy Kamp say is life saving.
Officials with the Women’s Health Program say there are nearly 3,000 providers statewide, even without Planned Parenthood clinics, which is 400 more than before the policy change in May.