Texas Seeks To Stop Doctors From Talking About Abortion

Posted on July 12, 2012

Think Progress, July 12, 2012 by Annie-Rose Strasser

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) effectively defunded his state’s Planned Parenthood earlier this year by barring it and any other “abortion affiliates” from receiving funds under the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP). The government eventually cut off the program for not complying with the law, but Perry insisted he’d continue it— but on his own terms.

It turns out those terms mean blocking funding for anyone who even talks about abortion.

In a letter explaining the Texas Department of Health and Human Services’s proposed new rules, they have expanded their ban from “affiliates” (abortion providers or clinics attached to abortion providers) to “promoters” and those who affiliate with “promoters”:

The section also requires a TWHP provider to ensure that (1) outside the scope of TWHP, the provider does not perform or promote elective abortions and does not affiliate with an entity that performs or promotes elective abortions; and (2) within the scope of TWHP, the provider does not promote elective abortions, is physically separated from any abortion-providing or abortion-promoting entity, and does not operate under an identification mark that is registered to an entity thatperforms or promotes elective abortions.

Banning “promotion” effectively means banning any women’s health care provider who mentions the word abortion or has informational material about how a woman might be able to seek out the procedure. Banning those who affiliate with someone who promotes abortion even further broadens the number of facilities that will not be able to recieve state funds. The Dallas Observes explains how the Texas HHS defines promotion:

And what exactly does it mean to “promote” abortion? Providing a patient with a referral to a facility that performs abortions, referring to abortion as “within the continuum of family planning services,” “furnishing or displaying” information to a patient that “publicizes or advertises an abortion service or provider,” or displaying a “brand name” of a healthcare provider that performs abortions.

This is bad news for low-income women in Texas. By blocking Medicaid funding, the Texas government is effectively stopping women’s health clinics from being able to assist the poorest women who most need the help. The more sweeping the generalizations about who can provide care, the fewer options women have.

Earlier this week, in another anti-woman move, Perry said he would also turn down the Medicaid expansion available under the Affordable Care Act. Texas Medicaid recipients are disproportionately female.


Posted in: Texas