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AUSTIN, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Trump administration is granting Texas' request for a waiver to Medicaid rules that would restore funding for the state's Healthy Texas Women program. Federal funds have been cut off for the program since 2013 in retaliation for Texas refusing to fund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood or their affiliates.
According to a statement from Texas' Health and Human Services Commission, it has reached an agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide $350,000 for comprehensive women's health services over the next five years.
Services include family planning as well as other health services that contribute to preconception care, better birth outcomes and improved maternal health. It also includes breast and cervical cancer screening, well-women exams and screening and treatment for postpartum depression, hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes.
The waiver upholds Texas' policy that favors childbirth and family planning services "that do not include elective abortions or the promotion of elective abortions."
Texas began applying for the waiver in 2016 as soon as President Trump was elected. It took three years to earn the waiver because it wasn't clear the program met the requirement of showing that the waived rules would result in improved health care for residents. As reported in the Austin American-Statesman, one analyst suggested the waiver was doing nothing more than refunding the state of Texas for a program it already had in place and that it would not be adding any new people or services.
The Trump administration claims naysayers misunderstand the program and said it would "incentivize preventive care and lead to higher quality care at a sustainable cost."
In a prepared statement, Dr. Courtney Phillips, executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, praised Texas Governor Greg Abbott. With his "strong leadership, we continue making significant strides in improving access to women's health and family planning services in Texas."
Abbott, a Catholic, has championed many causes dear to the hearts of the faithful. In addition to promoting a state-wide policy favoring childbirth over abortion, he also advocated for the state's right to display the Ten Commandments in front of the state capitol.
After Houston city attorneys tried to subpoena hundreds of sermons from five Christian pastors fighting anti-discrimination homosexual legislation, Abbott signed into law a bill that prevents such actions on the part of government.
He spoke out against the Supreme Count ruling that said prohibitions against same sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Earlier this week, Abbott and the state of Texas were blasted by Texas Catholic bishops over the governor's decision to opt out of the federal refugee resettlement program. All sixteen bishops issued a joint statement saying the opt-out decision "denies people who are fleeing persecution, including religious persecution, from being able to bring their gifts and talents to our state and contribute to the general common good of all Texans."
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