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The state of Texas excluded Planned Parenthood in 2011 from its women's health program. That meant foregoing millions of dollars in federal Medicaid money. More than 80 women's health clinics, most of them not Planned Parenthood, were forced to close in the aftermath. And now Texas wants the Trump administration to open up those federal Medicaid funds once again but still be allowed to restrict their use. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn has the story.
PAULA TURICCHI: I want to welcome everyone to the seventh meeting of the Women's Health Advisory Committee. My name is Paula Turicchi.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Yesterday was the big day at the Texas Capitol for the state to lay out its plan to apply for permission from the federal government so that it can start getting federal Medicaid money again. Lesley French with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission spelled it out.
LESLEY FRENCH: Now, the goals of the HTW demonstration are to increase women's health and family planning services. In addition, the goals will include implementation of a state policy that favors child birth and family planning services that do not include elective abortions or the...
GOODWYN: With President Trump placing anti-abortion activists in charge of federal funding for family planning, Texas sees an opportunity to regain what it lost when the state decided to defund all Planned Parenthood clinics entirely. And that's federal Medicaid money which made up 90 percent of its program's financing. If the administration agrees, other states are expected to follow suit, except they won't have to endure the penalties taxes suffered. Dr. Georges Benjamin is the executive director of the American Public Health Association. Benjamin says federal dollars are already forbidden to fund abortions, but if Texas gets its waiver, abortion rights proponents across the country would be forced to participate in Texas' inequitable funding program.
GEORGES BENJAMIN: I don't want my federal dollars being used for discriminatory practices. You're now forcing other states who may - and other people who have - may have a different view on this issue to pay for the discriminatory practices that the state of Texas is trying to have which will ultimately result in poor health outcomes for women.
GOODWYN: In its application, Texas noted it has the highest birth rate in the nation, one of the highest teen birth rates and that fully a third of the state's pregnancies are unintended. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.
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