Texas Women Try To Access Services Amid Changes To Women's Health Program

October 1, 2012 — Tens of thousands of low-income Texas women will soon lose access to family planning services through Planned Parenthood because the state has excluded affiliates of abortion providers from its Women's Health Program, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates will end on Nov. 1. WHP provides more than 126,000 low-income women in the state with family planning and other preventive services.

Women whose providers are affected by the change could face long wait times and other barriers to finding alternative providers, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Dozens of family planning clinics in Texas have closed or reduced hours since lawmakers cut their funding by two-thirds last year.

"I think it's going to be tough to plug the hole with other providers," state Rep. Donna Howard (D) said, adding that the state's decision "is not fiscally responsible."

Previously, the federal government covered 90% of the cost of WHP in Texas, but it will no longer fund the program because of the state's move to exclude certain providers. Texas will spend $40.1 million through September 2013 to fund the program on its own. It also is fighting a legal battle with Planned Parenthood over the issue.

Stephanie Goodman of the state Health and Human Services Commission said the state has recruited about 500 new providers in recent months, bringing the total number of facilities to 3,000 (Warbelow, Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/1).