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When he wasn't forgetting how to count to three—oops!—or giving bizarre speeches after which he had to clarify that he was not drunk or high, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was spending his time figuring out how best to deprive women of basic health care. And boy, did he come up with a great plan! Gov. Genius would prove to the Republican base what a tough, fetus-lovin', lady-hatin' macho macho man he was by declaring war on Planned Parenthood and poor women. So he cooked up a scheme to block Planned Parenthood from participating in the state's Women's Health Program, which provided health care to 130,000 low-income women, violating federal law and jeopardizing all of the state's Medicaid funding. Because nothing says "sanctity of life" like telling women they can't go to the doctor anymore because the governor's trying to make it to the White House on an extremist fetus-worshipping platform.

Of course, Perry told that mean ol' federal government that Texas didn't need no stinkin' federal dollars to provide health care to its poorest women, but coming up with $35 million out of thin air isn't so easy after all.

The new plan went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, and while Planned Parenthood hasn't given up and will be back in court on Friday, still trying to get this abomination of a policy overturned, Perry's war on the poorest women of his state is thus far going exactly as planned:

Patients displaced by the Planned Parenthood and abortion-affiliated clinic bans can go to to find Women's Health Program-eligible clinics.

"We believe the state misrepresented the level of provider participation," [Executive Director of the People's Community Clinic Regina] Rogoff said. "They say they have these thousands of providers [to take on the displaced Planned Parenthood patients], but we're listed six times, and we're not taking new patients except for a limited number of teens."

A search for services in ZIP code 78722, part of Austin, yielded four entries for the "Peoples Community Clinic "at a few different addresses plus two more entries at the same address for individual doctors there. But the clinic is just one organization, and it's at capacity, Rogoff said.

In other words, Texas told low-income women not to worry, just because they can no longer go to Planned Parenthood for their health care doesn't mean there aren't other state-sanctioned providers available. Except there aren't. Those other providers are often at maximum capacity already, especially in the more rural areas. The plain truth is that for many women in Texas, and around the country, Planned Parenthood is the only option. And if women lose their only option, well, that means they just don't get any health care at all. Which is just fine with Gov. Perry and his fellow extremists. Because despite the faux concerns for women and innocent life and all the other gobbledygook they spew, Perry himself made his real priorities perfectly clear:
"To be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past," Perry said at a press conference organized by Texas Right to Life. "While Roe v. Wade prevents us from taking that step, it does allow states to do some things to protect life if they can show there is a compelling state interest. I don’t think there is any issue that better fits the definition of 'compelling state interest' than preventing the suffering of our state’s unborn."
And that is the whole point. As long as Perry gets to prevent women from accessing reproductive health care, well, who cares if 130,000 women get screwed over in the process, right?

Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:23 AM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Pro Choice, and Daily Kos.

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