The Department of Health and Human Services of the Great State of Texas has decided recently to enforce a law that would effectively eliminate funding for their Women’s Health Program.
The law which will be enforced next week prohibits the state of Texas from providing Medicaid funds to doctors or health clinics that have an affiliation with an organization that conducts elective abortions, even if said institution does not provide them.
The measure could run into trouble, though, since enforcement conflicts with federal law which dictates that states “cannot pick and choose which qualified health care providers receive state funding.” And if the state followed through with enforcement, the Women’s Health Program, which services some 130,000 impoverished women, could be shut down.
Fed up with the intransigence of GOP lawmakers, hundreds of women rallied yesterday in Austin. Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission, voiced their concern:
I think the rally shows the same thing we’ve been saying. [The Women's Health Program] is valuable and worth saving, whichever side of the rule you’re on. But we also feel that Texas is on firm legal ground. Federal law gives states both the right and the responsibility to set qualifications for its Medicaid providers.