GOP senator defends Planned Parenthood: ‘Provide those services, absolutely’

Posted on March 22, 2012

The Raw Story, March 22, 2012 by David Edwards

See The Raw Story for the MSNBC videos.

A conservative Republican senator is speaking out in defense of Planned Parenthood and calling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to make sure the organization gets funded.

During an interview on Thursday, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) if Perry was wrong to block state funding for the women’s health services provided by Planned Parenthood because they also offer abortions.

“I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the healthcare, the preventative healthcare, and if they’re doing that, then we need to provide those services, absolutely,” Hutchinson replied.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration began to cut off federal funds for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program because of their decision to exclude Planned Parenthood.

“Medicaid law is clear,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Cindy Mann said in a letter to state officials. “Patients, not state government officials, are able to choose the doctor and health care providers that are best for them and their family.”

Hutchinson told Todd that Perry needed to work out his differences with the federal government for the sake of low-income women.

“We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low-income women to have health care services,” she explained. “I do think the governor needs to set down with the federal government and work it out so that we can have our share, our fair share and not more, but our fair share of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their health services.”

The Texas senator also denied that Republicans had attempted to restrict access to contraception in a so-called “war on women.”

“I think the contraception issue was made into something that it was not,” she insisted. “It was a religious freedom issue that a lot of people felt strongly about. And, certainly, no one is saying we should have a role in telling women they can’t have contraception, which is what the Democrats are suggesting. That’s absurd.”

Hutchison was one of 48 senators that voted for Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) legislation that would have allowed any employer — not just religious institutions — to ban coverage of contraception on moral grounds. The amendment was narrowly defeated in early March after Sen. Olympic Snowe (R-ME) voted with Democrats.

Posted in: Fighting back, Texas