HOUSTON - There is conflicting information coming out of Governor Perry's office in Austin and the White House.
While federal funding for the Women's Health Program was supposed to end this week, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced a compromise with the Department of Health and Human Services which will continue funding the program for a while.
If you are following the political issue, the battle is over federal funding for the woman's health program, which provides cancer screenings and birth control for more than 100,000 Texas women.
The Texas Legislature passed a law that bans money being used for any program affiliated with Planned Parenthood or any facility that provides abortion services.
Public money is never used to pay for abortions.
Meanwhile, President Obama's administration said the law was a violation of the rules for Medicaid.
I'm checking with the governor's office, but I'm posting the statement released by the governor's office. It's followed by the statement by U.S. Representative Jackson – Lee. (D-18)
From Governor Perry's Office
"It is the height of political posturing for the Obama Administration to put the interests of abortion providers and their affiliates, like Planned Parenthood, over the well-being of more than 100,000 low-income Texas women. I will not stand by and let this Administration abandon these Texas women to advance its political agenda; Texas will fund these services with or without the federal government.
"Texans send a substantial amount of our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and it is unconscionable that the Obama Administration has essentially told Texas it will send our tax dollars back to fund this program only if we violate state law and include its pro-abortion allies. I will continue to fight this egregious overreach and defend life, our state's laws and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
From Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
"This is great news for those in need of health care and for those who cannot afford to have their health care denied on any level. This decision by HHS did not come easy. I personally worked with officials of HHS and the State of Texas to see that the program be extended for 3 months. During those 3 months we will continue to have more talks and negotiations about the program. At the end of 3 months HHS will be open to extending the benefits for another 3 months but a phase out will be in effect.
"However, this extra time gives me and other state representatives more time to find alternative methods and for the State to seek other areas that will not cut off minority women and children from groups like Planned Parenthood where some seek their health care needs. I hope the state will come to its senses to ensure that the health of women and healthy children will always be afforded to them as citizens of the state of Texas.
"During my time in Congress I have worked to improve the lives of women and advance gender equality. The status of women and girls is a key indicator of a community's well-being. Whether we are working on addressing the 77 cents that women make for every dollar earned by a man or reducing health disparities women face, I have made improving the lives of women a top priority in my work.
"Women are among those who benefit most from the recently enacted health insurance reform legislation. Previously, women were often charged higher premiums solely on the basis of their gender. Women also disproportionately lack the option of obtaining health coverage from their employer. Reforms will ensure that nearly every American woman receives adequate health insurance.
"I convened a Women's Health Summit earlier this week with state Rep. Garnet Coleman where we were in negotiating with U.S. Health and Human Services in hopes of finding alternative funding for the program, which provides health screenings and contraceptive services to 130,000 Texas women on Medicaid. We are glad a temporary solution has been found."
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