Examining the Alternatives for the Women’s Health Program

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Anne Dunkelberg /(512) 320-0222 x 102
Stacey Pogue /(512) 320-0222 x 117

March 9, 2012

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Governor’s proposal for a state-only program that excludes Planned Parenthood is a poor choice

The Women’s Health Program provides essential well-woman services. The program is part of Medicaid, a federal-state partnership. For every dollar the state spends in the program, the federal government provides nine more. These federal dollars are at risk, however, because of a new state rule that excludes Planned Parenthood from participating in the program. This new state rule violates federal law, which guarantees women freedom of choice to select their own providers. Now the Governor has proposed keeping the state’s new rule but paying for the program with state funds only. This policy paper examines the state’s alternatives and explains why paying for the program with state funds only is a poor choice.

NOTE: Policy Page revised 3/9/12 to reflect the following:

“The Guttmacher Institute reports that for low-income women, over 40 percent of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. If the goal is to reduce abortions, reducing unintended pregnancies is the key, which requires family planning services."