Rick Perry's Texas is a preview of Mitt Romney's America
Texas continues to make headlines this week, as Governor Rick Perry and his anti-women’s health allies continue to threaten to cut off care for more than 100,000 low income women in the Lone Star State (essentially because they don’t like Planned Parenthood).
The legal back-and-forth is a bit hard to follow, but Planned Parenthood was issued a preliminary injunction Monday to continue participating in the Women’s Health Program, which was subsequently halted by a judge from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who granted an emergency stay. Planned Parenthood is awaiting a final decision (dizzy yet?), but our doors remain open.
Governor Perry has made a habit of standing between women and the care they need—and try as he might, he can’t blame Planned Parenthood for it. Texas officials have openly admitted they would rather end the entire Women’s Health Program—and deny life-saving preventive care to hundreds of thousands of women—than allow Planned Parenthood to participate.
In last year’s budget, he cut funding for women’s health by nearly two-thirds. The $74 million cut was justified as a means to close a $27 billion budget gap (in reality, this cut will actually end up costing the state over $200 million due to an increase in unintended pregnancies). Already 160,000 women are feeling the impact of these drastic cuts.
In a state that leads the nation with the highest percentage of uninsured people, the third-highest rate of cervical cancer in the country, and the fourth-highest rate of teen pregnancy, further restricting access to affordable, quality care would be devastating. Wednesday's USA Today’s must-read article detailed just how devastating the cuts are to women in the state of Texas.
But the thing is, Texas, as big as it is, is just one state out of 50. And if you don’t like what you see in Rick Perry’s Texas you better watch out — Mitt Romney’s America would be just as bad (and maybe worse).
- Romney opposes affordable access to birth control with no co-pay. Really, that’s no surprise considering Romney once commented that the landmark case of Griswold v. Connecticut— which overruled the state’s right to ban contraception nearly 50 years ago — was wrong.
- He supports extreme “personhood” measures that would ban all abortions — with no exceptions—and could also ban many common forms of birth control.
- He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, calling it “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history.”
- Romney said he wants to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, and leave the nearly three million patients Planned Parenthood health centers serve each year without health care.
- He wants to eliminate Title X funding—which serves more than five million low-income people each year.
- Romney pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act “on day one” of his presidency, meaning one of his first acts would be to deny millions of women and families access to affordable preventive care.
So if you think what’s going on in Texas is bad, think about what it would be like nationwide. We can’t afford to end access to family planning; threaten Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide preventive care to three million women, men, and young people; and jeopardize all women’s health care along the way, but if Mitt Romney and Governor Perry get their way, women will be denied the important preventive care they need.