My Ten Cents

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Texas case of Penny wise Pound foolish?

This much is certain, come April 30th, 2012, the state of Texas will cut off financial assistance to Planned Parenthood, because the organization is affiliated with or support clinics that provide abortion. This is in keeping with a new state law that requires the state to cut off funding to clinics or medical groups that provide or support abortion. There is nothing wrong with the state obeying the law.
Here is the problem; only about 10% of Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas provide abortion, which is still legal in a country where federal law trumps state and local laws, and the organization has proven beyond doubt that the funding it receives from the state does not go to abortion clinics, but goes to provide well-woman services to about 98% of the poor women in rural Texas who cannot afford such services without Planned Parenthood assistance. Without this financial assistance from the state, these well-woman clinics will close at the end of April.

Why would they close? Here is why: the federal government, which provides more than 90% of the funds the state of Texas allocates to organizations like Planned Parenthood, and with the state discriminating with these funds, the federal government, following federal law which guides the provision of these funds have decided to cut off Texas from its list of beneficiaries. Now, Planned Parenthood finds itself between a rock and a hard place, and the poor women of Texas who depend on these clinics for healthcare find themselves without help – state or federal.
It gets even more confusing. Texas Attorney-General has taken the federal government to court claiming that it has no right to cut off the funds. Really? Yet the same Attorney general believes that the state has the right to cut off funding to PPH. Now, following in the state’s footsteps, PPH has decided to sue the state claiming the same thing, prompting the government spokeswoman to state publicly that “we will defend this lawsuit vigorously, because it is the state law”. No arguments about that. The question is; what does she think the federal government would do about the state’s lawsuit against it? Lay down and play dead?.

Yes, the governor has promised to find the money somehow to replace the lost federal funding. However, this is in a state where funding for the most important programs; education, healthcare, and public safety have been on the chopping block for three years running. Where is he going to find a replacement for the lost fund? More schools have been closed or merged in the state than any other state; more teachers have been laid off than in any other state; Texas has more uninsured people than any other state in the nation; more teens are roaming around with unwanted pregnancies than any other state –mostly because after school programs have been reduced to the bare bones, and there is less adoption activities in Texas than any other state. Yet, the state’s economy grows faster than that of any other state in the nation, thereby increasing its tax revenue. How do you explain the disparity?
The states wants to prevent abortion, and hopefully, all clinics and organizations which provide or support abortion will be “run out of Texas” (their words, not mine). There is nothing wrong with a government at any level taking whatever action it wants, as long as that government is a dictatorship. But Texas is not a dictatorship, because the governor has been consistent on his preaching about less government intrusion in our private lives. Unless it is a case of “do as I say, not as I do”. Fortunately, we are not yet North Korea, Cuba, or the former Nazi Germany.

A better way to prevent abortion in the state would have been to promote safe sex education from primary school level up, fund well-woman clinics (like the ones that are closing out in the state now in mostly rural areas, and enlist the assistance of non-governmental agencies, including churches, in the message to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, the state is applying a high-handed method that does not solve the problem of unwanted pregnancies or prevent abortion at any level.
Every segment of society; conservative Christians, Evangelicals, regular Christians, Catholics, liberal democrats, independents, or non-conformists all do, at some point of the other, need abortion for unwanted pregnancies. That some are publicly anti-abortion does not necessarily mean that they do not have need-based abortions. So, whether you are against or for it, it will always happen. Running Planned Parenthood out of Texas will not solve the problem; neither is killing abortion providers or burning down their clinics, as has been going on in some states for some time now.
 A highly-educated society on every lifestyle is always in a better position to protect against the consequences of that lifestyle; in this case, we need more education and preventive care than promoting VVF laws and denying funds to organizations promoting well-women programs. This Texas law appears to fit the bill of penny wise pound foolish; making one wonder the mental state of the people we elect into legislative office.

I hope to God that we are still in a free and democratic society, where everyone has the right of choice as enshrined in both the state and federal constitution. Trying to curb that right by any devious means is an open invitation to political mutiny.
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