President Obama's Administration plans to cancel funding for a long-standing and cost-effective health and wellness program for more than 100,000 Texas women. This move will cut off access to screenings for breast and cervical cancer, hypertension and diabetes, STD testing and family planning services for Texas women who otherwise could not afford them.
Unfortunately, President Obama and his allies are once again putting their political agenda ahead of sound policy and the delivery of cost-efficient health care. They are trampling on the rights of states like Texas to create programs like the Women's Health Program and to administer it for Texans by Texans.
Why would the Obama Administration take away access to health care for low-income Texas women? Because this administration puts funding for abortion providers and affiliates ahead of funding for women's cancer screenings and other preventative health care. Texas, operating under the direction of an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of legislators, prohibits abortion providers and affiliates like Planned Parenthood from receiving taxpayer money.
Because Texas refuses to fund abortion providers and their affiliates, the federal government has announced that it will cancel the Women's Health Program. To me, this reflects a twisted set of values, not to mention a continued disregard for the basic concept of states' rights.
Under federal law, Washington leaves it to state leaders to administer the Medicaid program and set criteria for who is, and is not, a qualified provider. Consistent with state and federal law, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) developed a program that would ensure continued access to care by qualified providers across Texas and asked the Obama Administration for approval.
However, the Obama Administration apparently is unwilling to allow the exclusion of organizations like Planned Parenthood, as Texas law requires, even though that organization represents less than 2 percent of enrolled providers. Texas has more than 2,500 qualified providers in 4,600 sites across the state, ready to deliver care.
If this debate were really about health care, the Obama Administration would allow the Texas Women's Health Program to continue.
Instead, the administration's stated intention to reject the Texas program reflects nothing more than its pro-abortion agenda, and is a blatant pander to the president's liberal base, which has made Planned Parenthood's abortion services a celebrated cause.
Texas is an easy target for such attacks because we value life and have worked hard to preserve and protect its sanctity over the years. We've passed laws requiring that parents be notified and give consent before their minor daughters abort a child, ensuring parents will be involved and ready to provide much-needed guidance and advice at the most critical of moments.
We've funded and promoted alternatives to abortion, and provided counseling for women on these other options, including adoption, which - in addition to saving a child - is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give a waiting mother and father.
We also created a law that will prevent abortions in Texas until the mother has a sonogram, because we believe women deserve to have all the information before making such a life-ending decision.
At our nation's founding, the architects of our constitution clearly spelled out precisely which powers were enumerated to the federal government and left the rest - explicitly - to the states.
While Washington has steadily undermined and weakened the authority of states and local communities to govern themselves, it wasn't until the last few years when states - especially more conservative states - were actively targeted by a presidential administration.
The Obama Administration has seized control of Texas' air-permitting process, put radical new interpretations of the Clean Air Act into effect and, worst of all, imposed a health care mandate on individual citizens and state governments that threatens to bankrupt us all.
The Texas women who face the prospect of losing access to preventative health care are only the latest to be caught in the crossfire of the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to seize more control over the actions of every state, every town and every household.
Here in Texas, we will continue to fight back against all manner of federal encroachment into our lives, and any and all efforts to destroy or dilute the protections we've put in place for our unborn. President Obama, please abandon this misguided and unhealthy course of action and allow the Texas Women's Health Program to continue providing preventative health care and cancer screenings for Texas women.