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Does defunding Planned Parenthood hurt women's health?
Texas Republicans say they're working to stop abortions — but they also may be forcing the closure of clinics that low-income women count on
In April 2011, a college student protests in Washington, D.C.: In Texas, more than a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics closed last year.
In April 2011, a college student protests in Washington, D.C.: In Texas, more than a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics closed last year.
Ellie Van Houtte /Demotix/Demotix/Corbis
T

exas Republicans' war on Planned Parenthood is still raging. Already, more than a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics shut down last year after state lawmakers slashed women's health spending by two-thirds in the name of stopping abortions. Now, Gov. Rick Perry and GOP legislators have set the stage for further cuts that will hit next week. What effect is this having on women's health? Here, a brief guide:

First off: What's happening next week?
A controversial new state law takes effect. The rule will exclude Planned Parenthood and any other "affiliates of abortion providers" from the Medicaid Women's Health Program, which provides grants to clinics serving 130,000 women in Texas. The Obama administration has warned that if Texas goes through with cutting out Planned Parenthood, the state won't get the $35 million in federal money that funds the program.

How does that hurt women's health?
The federal government contributes $9 for every $1 Texas kicks into the joint program. Without that federal funding, many of these clinics may struggle to survive. Many low-income women may lose a source of affordable health care, such as breast cancer screenings, birth control pills, and pap smears.

Who's to blame?
It's pretty clear that "political posturing" over abortion is hurting hundreds of thousands of women, says Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel, by making it harder and more expensive for them to get "health care services that even the most devout pro-lifer would consider crucial." Hold on, says Steven Ertelt at LifeNews. This is President Obama's fault. Texas merely yanked Planned Parenthood from the list of organizations that can get money under the Women's Health Program — it was the Obama administration that cut off funding in response.

Sources: Jezebel, LifeNews, New York Times

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