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March 16, 2012

Texas Medicaid Funding Cut Over State’s Planned Parenthood Exclusion

The decision comes as states mull ultrasound laws.

The federal government announced this week that it will phase out federal support for the Medicaid Women's Health Program (WHP) in Texas, responding to the state’s decision to exclude from the program Planned Parenthood and other clinics affiliated with abortion providers. The WHP provides family planning, health screenings, and birth control to about 130,000 low-income women who are enrolled in WHP in Texas. About half of Texas enrollees would not be able to use their current health providers under the new Texas rules.

Cindy Mann, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters that the federal government did not have a choice. "Medicaid law is clear," Mann said. "Patients, not state government officials, are able to choose the doctor and health care providers that are best for them and their family."

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The WHP decision comes on the heels of a January decision by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift an injunction against a mandatory sonogram law in Texas. The Court ruled that a state law requiring a sonogram could go into effect while a lawsuit was considered in the district court. The law has received particular scrutiny because the requirement of an ultrasound would mean that women with early pregnancies would need a vaginal probe to conduct the ultrasound.

The cartoon Doonesbury has made the state's recently enacted law the focus of this week’s storyline. Artist Garry Trudeau traces a woman's experiences attempting to receive an abortion in Texas. Some newspapers have refused to run the cartoons because they equate the sonograms with rape.

Trudeau told the Guardian that he considered the term “rape” to be an accurate description of the compulsory procedure.

Catherine Frazier, a spokesman for Governor Rick Perry, said, “The decision to end a life is not funny. There is nothing comic about this tasteless interpretation of legislation we have passed in Texas to ensure that women have all the facts when making a life-ending decision.”

The Texas ultrasound law was the model for a Virginia law enacted March 7, requiring a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. The statute states that the purpose of the ultrasound is to determine the gestational age of the fetus, and an image of the fetus must be kept in the woman's medical records. Women are not required to view the ultrasound, but they must be given the opportunity to see the ultrasound, hear the heartbeat and wait 24 hours before having the abortion (two hours if she lives further than 100 miles away). The state will also make available a list of providers that provide free ultrasounds, many of which are pro-life pregnancy centers.

An earlier version of the Virginia law became controversial because it would have essentially required many women to have a transvaginal ultrasound. The law was changed so that it requires only a “transabdominal ultrasound.”

Virginia and Texas are just two of many states that have enacted new abortion restrictions. In Utah, the state legislature approved a 72 hour waiting period for abortions last week. If signed into law, Utah would be the longest in the nation. South Dakota approved a 72-hour waiting period last year, but the law is currently blocked while the law is being reviewed as part of a federal lawsuit.

Comments

Congrats to TX, VA and all the states that are doing all they can for now to keep babies from being killed by abortion.

Yes, I think that it's great that several states are trying to withdraw their funding from Planned Parenthood. Naturally, the DOJ is filing lawsuits against them, and Eric Holder (famous for his Fast and Furious scandal) is filing lawsuits against those states, but we Christians need to be in prayer for the states and their decisions to not fund more abortions.
The DOJ even misuses our money to go after single individuals, for example, the lady who was handing out leaflets about abortion (nowhere near a clinic, and entirely legal), and naturally Holder's case lost in court. But Obama and Holder haven't gone after a single banker who has misused the federal money that was supposed to be used to bail them out. No, they haven't had time for that. But they have time for every single abortion case in every state. We know where this administration's priorities are. They are pro-rich bankers and very pro-abortion.

So, instead of Obamacare limiting choices, and telling people where they can go for medical care, the state of Texas is doing so. Maybe their motives are pure, but how is this different than the federal law? It is dictating to women who they can choose as a doctor and what kind of care they can receive. I guess it will always be true, the rich have choices and options, and the poor get the crumbs that fall from the table. Seems hypocritical to me to complain about the over reach of Big Brother with the federal law, and turn and around to do this at the state level.
You will never rid the world of abortion beating women with unwanted pregnancies over the head with a stick. You'll just drive them to desperation. Remember, women who attend church regularly have abortions at the same rate as women who do not. It's an issue of the heart, and you can't legislate away the issues of the heart.

I am appealing to parents to watch the enclosed video. It shows the assault Planned Parenthood has launched against children. It is sickening.

A corporate policy that actively stalks, tempts and sets up children for sex is reprehensible. Do parents know what their doing?

Supporting Planned Parenthood with our tax dollars promotes their ideology.

I cannot support any decision that robs children of their innocence.

Thank you for your consideration.

leslie johnson is the video you refer to from a reliable source? YOu know there are videos and there are videos (remember the misleading cut and spliced video by Andrew Breitbart re Shirley Sherrod). In any case, where is the link to this video you are talking about?

The statute states that the purpose of the ultrasound is to determine the gestational age of the fetus ...

Well, that's interesting. Suddenly, in order for a woman to have an abortion, it is medically / clinically necessary "to determine the gestational age of the fetus".

The obvious question, then, is why, up until this law was passed, such ultrasounds were not a required part of the process of obtaining an abortion, if such a determination is so critical.

Answer: the gestational-age argument is just a smoke screen to give the state an excuse to subject a woman to a humiliating procedure, arguably in violation of the 4th Amendment's "unreasonable search" prohibition.

Republicans and conservatives have as little respect for the Constitution as they have for women.

JC

Again, it's important to make sure that the pregnancy is not a tubal pregnancy, which also gives positive pregnancy tests. I had an ectopic pregnancy myself and have several friends who did as well. Having an abortion, and thinking you aren't pregnant, while indeed, the fetus continues to grow in the tube until it ruptures can be very dangerous and even fatal.
It seems you put up a smokescreen of pretending to care about women's health, when in reality, you're only pro-abortion and who cares about the woman or the child. Funny how liberals so quickly forget the facts and then continue on with their agendas.

@Traci, I'm not following: "Having an abortion, and thinking you aren't pregnant, while indeed, the fetus continues to grow in the tube" How do you have a 'successful' abortion but unknowingly leave behind a developing fetus? Are you a doctor? How do you explain this?

BTW, it is you who is throwing up some smokescreens. This is not a liberal/conservative issue, it's a personal liberties issue. If the government can force doctors to do unnecessary procedures, withhold vital information, and state incorrect facts to patients, then what is next? Remember that state legislatures may not always be packed with Republicans; someday the pendulum will swing to Democrats. Then, how will they use these new powers that you've given them?

Yes, I have 2 degrees in the medical field, one takes 8 years and the other 4 years. I have worked in the OB/GYN field and have worked in labor and delivery. The fetus gives off a hormone called HCG that causes a pregnancy test to be positive. The test will show positive whether it is implanted in the fallopian tube or if it is implanted in the uterus, where it should be.
If you have an abortion, it obviously will not remove a fetus implanted in the fallopian tube, and the fetus will continue to grow until the tube ruptures, which can be fatal to the woman. Funny that all these suppposedly pro-women groups don't REALLY care about the woman, or they would be concerned about the chance of it being an ectopic pregnancy. And doctors, nurses, and pharmacists should never be forced to perform these procedures, or dispense abortifacients that are against their faith. The Catholics, Lutherans (Missouri and Wisconsin Synods), Jews, and Southern Baptists are all taking stands that they will not perform these procedures or dispense the abortifacient that will cause an abortion, which obamacare and his regime are trying to force them to do.

The test will show positive whether it is implanted in the fallopian tube or if it is implanted in the uterus, where it should be.

Fine. Fair enough. Thank you.

But that still does not answer my original question: why did such a determination become so life]-or-death, make-or-break critical all of a sudden?

I mean, women did not start having ectopic pregnancies immediately prior to the present debate. Before that time, no law, as far as I know, required an ultrasound to determine gestational age or an ectopic pregnancy, etc. Now, all of a sudden, a law requires that these determinations be made.

Did the laws / principles of reproductive biology undergo some kind of non-linear change? Did ob/gyn's just recently catch on to how to use an ultrasound to make these kinds of determinations?

I'm willing to believe that an ultrasound can settle any number of critical issues, gestational age and ectopic pregnancies included, but why the sudden urgency to translate this capability into coercive law?

JC

What can we make men do who abandon the role of father to the child after being born? Can we make them see pictures of their child growing up and crying for God's help for being abandoned? Can we force the man to regularly listen to audio recordings of a loving innocent child asking why and weeping?

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