Fifty-seven clergy members from across the state, representing a variety of faiths and denominations, sent an open letter to Governor Perry today calling on him to make the health and welfare of Texas’ most vulnerable women a priority over politics. Following the Governor’s move to eliminate the 90 percent federally-funded Women’s Health Program, over 130,000 low-income, uninsured women are at-risk of losing access to health care, including free breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, health exams, and birth control and well-woman checks.
“These are women that many of us counsel in our pastoral role, and that all of us are called upon to protect,” the letter explains. Governor Perry’s refusal to comply with federal law, that protects the choice of patients to go to their provider of choice, has brought an end to the program.
While Governor Perry insists he intends to fund the program using state instead of federal dollars, he continues to deny Planned Parenthood as a provider, despite the fact Planned Parenthood serves over 40 percent of all Women’s Health Program patients.
The clergy letter calls on the Governor to put politics aside: “We are unanimous in our belief that the conscience of the woman has a higher moral standing than ideological agendas. We do not pretend we can put an end to politics, but we stand firm behind our belief that politics has no business to the personal health decisions of Texas families.”
Texas currently leads the nation in the number of uninsured. In fact, one in four Texas women have no insurance. Contrary to Governor Perry’s statements, representatives of various medical associations have stated there is no other safety net for these women and that the current infrastructure does not have the capacity for additional patients. The clergy letter reminds the Governor that his action “is likely to only increase the number of abortions in Texas by denying contraception to poor women.” Urging the Governor to restore the program, the clergy letter concludes, “We are all, clergy and layperson alike, called to show compassion for the least among us.”
PERRY PRESENTS PERSPECTIVE
Gov. Rick Perry criticized the Obama Administration for its decision to shut down a Texas program that provides 100,000 low-income women health care. Gov. Perry issued the following statement on the Obama Administration's decision to end federal funding for these health services:
"It is the height of political posturing for the Obama Administration to put the interests of abortion providers and their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood, over the well-being of more than 100,000 low-income Texas women. I will not stand by and let this Administration abandon these Texas women to advance its political agenda; Texas will fund these services with or without the federal government.
"Texans send a substantial amount of our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and it is unconscionable that the Obama Administration has essentially told Texas it will send our tax dollars back to fund this program only if we violate state law and include its pro-abortion allies. I will continue to fight this egregious overreach and defend life, our state's laws and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."