Texas Continues to Restrict Women’s Health Care Access

Helen L. Montoya/The Associated Press
Texas – always at the forefront of conservative ideology – seems to have a problem with women and how they access health care. Just recently, they dismantled Planned Parenthood throughout the state by refusing to fund the agency – an agency that previously helped thousands of low income women who didn’t otherwise have access to adequate health care. Realizing the state still had an obligation to make affordable health care access available to women, Texas instituted the Women’s Health Program that provides access to a network of health professionals that provide low-income women with family exams, related health screening and birth control. The only problem with this program? Since they removed funding from Planned Parenthood, the list of potential doctors that can accept patients under the program is now minimal. And to add insult to injury, the state’s doctor list is woefully inaccurate.
The Waco Tribune-Herald said that they “found many of the doctors aren’t actually participating or won’t take new patients through the program.” That wasn’t all though. The scathing article went on to say:

For example, Waco Cardiology Associates is included on the list. But an official at the heart doctors’ office said they obviously are not participants in the program. The program’s key services include contraceptives, cervical cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, none of which are offered at Waco Cardiology Associates. 

The list generated by the state’s website also includes a handful of emergency medicine physicians from Waco’s two hospitals. 

Although such doctors theoretically could handle family planning needs, neither hospital wants to encourage women to seek that type of care in an expensive emergency setting. 

The list also includes a few physicians who either no longer work in Waco or who have changed specialties. For example, one physician who used to practice family medicine is on the list, even though she now only does wound care work. 

Linda Edwards Gockel, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said the state will work to correct errors on the list.

Perhaps Texas Governor Rick Perry took a page from Mitt Romney’s book in thinking women can just use “Emergency Room” care if they need to get their lady-parts inspected. Or even better, if they’re pregnant, they can visit a right-wing “crisis pregnancy center” (which don’t even provide health care services). In the mean time, Planned Parenthood has filed suit against the state for rescinding aid. Until they win the battle to bring affordable women’s healthcare back to the state of Texas, a lot of lives may be at risk. 

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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