Jul 18, 2013

Planned Parenthood chooses politics over health care

Today, Planned Parenthood announced that it will close three Texas clinics, after state budget cuts and the new Texas law restricting abortion to 20 weeks and mandating safety standards for clinics that perform abortion. Coming on the same day that Rick Perry signed the new law, and only days after that law was passed during protests at the state capitol, this can only be seen in the lucid world as a purely political move.

The funding that PP Gulf Coast says was cut, forcing these closures at the end of August this year, was done in the 2011 legislative session. So their 12 Texas and Louisiana clinics have been operating without any state funding for two years and just now have to close? Doubtful.

Fortunately, since the Texas legislature increased funding for the Women's Health Program by $71 million this year, affordable care for low income Texas women won't suffer. Also, since Obamacare now mandates that insurance companies provide preventative and contraceptive care free of copay or deductible, Texas women have even less reason to worry about losing out on the things that Planned Parenthood has been providing them.

While PPGC CEO Melaney Linton says the closures are “a completely separate issue” from the new law, their announcement and Perry's signing occuring on the same day is obviously not coincidental. Linton says that Texas not expanding Medicaid under Obamacare was “the final straw” that made them choose to close the clinics. However, the Medicaid issue was decided more than a month ago. If the closures were "a long time coming", then it shouldn't have taken more than a month to announce, if Medicaid was the "final straw".

What makes this PR move even more ironic is that only one of the three clinics that are closing performed abortions. That means only one would have had to meet the new safety standards by September 2014. There would have been absolutely no change for the other two, and any other clinics that don't (or now choose not to) perform abortions.

Sidebar: With all its complaining about public funding, it's ironic that Planned Parenthood itself doesn't even meet the 80% threshold that Obamacare mandates for health insurance companies to spend on medical care. PP only spends about two-thirds of its annual budget on medical care, the rest is overhead, "education", and "public policy work" (read: lobbying). Perhaps if they started worrying less about trying to get laws changed to loosen restrictions on them and more about providing actual health care to women, they could afford to do more of the latter.

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