Texas providers urge more women's health funding

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Associated Press

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 14 at 4:05 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A new coalition of Texas health providers on Wednesday called for more funding for women's health programs after the state cut off money to Planned Parenthood and other clinics.

The Texas Women's Healthcare Coalition that debuted Wednesday doesn't include Planned Parenthood, which Republican lawmakers targeted in 2011 under a bill that prohibits abortion-affiliated providers from participating in a state health program for low-income women.

Dr. Janet Realini, a chief organizer behind the coalition, says state budget drafts indicate that family planning services will mean 147,000 fewer women will receive preventive care and family planning than in 2010. Her organization argues that cuts will also lead to 24,000 additional unplanned pregnancies that will cost the state hundreds of millions in dollars in additional Medicaid costs.

"This coalition is designed to be another voice that this is not just about Planned Parenthood," Realini said.

The Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association are among the coalition members.

A Texas judge last made a key ruling last month refusing to allow Planned Parenthood to rejoin the Texas Women's Health Program. State health officials have said that have recruited more than enough new providers to make up for the exclusion of Planned Parenthood in the program.

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