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At 'Stand With Texas Women' rally.
Having done everything they can to eviscerate women's health care in the state, Texas Republicans are taking a step back to assess their achievements. The state Senate's Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing Thursday to "build on previous legislative achievements in women's healthcare by examining women’s access to preventative health care, pregnancy services, and postpartum care, and exploring ways to expand access and improve quality, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state." That this look at ways of expanding access in underserved areas comes in the wake of a pitched battle by the same people to reduce access to abortion—which was kind of a big deal—is not mentioned.

But even if you set aside that very intentional opposite-of-expansion-of-access, Texas has an appalling record on programs aimed even at the types of women's health care the state's Republicans don't stake their political identities on opposing:

Over the past several years, the family planning network in Texas has been crippled by deep cuts, leaving low-income and rural women struggling to get the basic care they need. On top of that, a sweeping new package of abortion restrictions is forcing clinics across the state to close their doors. And, since the state continues to refuse to expand Medicaid, an estimated one million men and women don’t have access to affordable health insurance. [...]

According to a review of state data conducted by the Texas Tribune, enrollment numbers in the Women’s Health Program are lower than they used to be. And claims for wellness exams and birth control pills have also dropped. The state program served about 287,730 women in 2005 — but last year, it served just 47,322.

If Texas Republicans were prepared to have a real discussion about their record on women's health, they'd probably need to come to the hearing equipped with self-flagellation equipment. But since to Republicans, women's health care is typically something to be opposed and underfunded, this hearing should be a real opportunity to celebrate themselves.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 12:35 PM PST.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Houston Area Kossacks, and Daily Kos.

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