Austin, Texas, Jan 23, 2020 / 15:01 pm
A Texas women’s health program that bars funding for health care providers that perform abortions has been approved for federal funding by the Trump administration, making it the first program to receive federal Medicaid funding while excluding abortion providers.
The Department of Health and Human Services approved the Medicaid waiver for the Healthy Texas Women program, which helps provide health care and family planning services to tens of thousands of women, the Dallas Morning News reports. The waiver is an administrative procedure that allows federal money for states that experiment in new ways to provide health care to the poor and disabled.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott welcomed the waiver, saying, “The Lone Star State is once again in partnership with the federal government to provide meaningful family planning and health services while fostering a culture of life.”
“This collaboration is a symbol of our commitment to championing the lives of Texas women. I am grateful to President Trump and his administration for approving this waiver, and for his commitment to protecting the unborn while providing much-needed health resources to Texas women,” Abbott said Jan. 22.
The Healthy Texas Women program was launched in 2007 under the name the Women’s Health Program. It served about 173,000 low-income women in 2018. The waiver, approved through December 2024, will fund services for over 200,000 clients a year, the governor’s office said. Federal funds will total about $350 million over five years, while the state will contribute about $100 million over that time.
The Obama administration refused to renew federal funding for the program because Texas would not fund abortion providers or affiliates. The funds did not go to abortions.
Before Planned Parenthood was dropped from funding, the organization served about 40 percent of the women in the program, providing birth control, cancer screenings, and other services. The funds did not go to abortions.
As the largest abortion provider in the U.S., however, any funding of Planned Parenthood has drawn critical attention from foes of abortion.