The future of Planned Parenthood remains unclear as the federal government aims to cut funding for the Women's Health Program in Texas. The federal Centers for Medicaid Services notified the state that its federal funding for the program will end on December 31st.
This federal action is in response to the state's decision to cease funding organizations in the Texas Women's Health Program that also provide abortion services. In March, federal officials said the new rule was illegal because it interfered with a woman's right to choose her doctor and said they would withdraw Medicaid funding as a result.
Planned Parenthood Association of Lubbock, the largest provider for the program in Lubbock, stated in an Oct. 27 petition that they do not provide abortions.
Tara Haskell, President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood in Lubbock, said the loss of funding would have devastating consequences for the women in the area.
"That's why we are in court, to fight for our patients," Haskell said in an email.
The Lubbock Planned Parenthood served more than 4,000 women, men and teens last year and saw more than 9,500 visitors.
Stephanie Goodman, spokeswomen for Texas Health and Human Services, says if Planned Parenthood goes away, there are plenty of other options women can choose from.
"They're actually a small percentage of the number of providers on the program."
There are about 50 Planned Parenthood clinics in the program and about 3,300 other providers, Goodman said.
"We still have plenty of other doctors and clinics around the state ready to serve those women, we just need to let the women know about all the other options out there that are available to them."
Although Planned Parenthood clinics are a small portion of total providers in the program, they serve more than 40 percent of the people in the program.
There are 130,000 women enrolled in the Women's Health Program and Planned Parenthood provided services to 52,000 of them.
The program is a $40 million-a-year program and $36 million of that generally comes from the federal government, said Goodman.
Starting on January 1st, they would run a state program without federal funds.
"When it's all state funding, we would be able to exclude any abortion providers or affiliates from the program," said Goodman.
A list of other providers in Lubbock covered under the Women's Health Program can be found here.
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