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International Women's Day 2012

Hey Ladies, Obama Loves You.


by: Chaille Jolink

Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:00 AM CST


International Women's Day was yesterday, and we heard a lot about the Republican's War on Women. So, I just wanted to highlight a few positive things that Obama has done for us ladies (and not just Michelle).

Obama really has done a lot for women and moreover, a lot for everyone.  

In closing, here is an amazing piece of history: the letter that Abigail Adams sent to John Adams famously telling him to "remember the ladies."

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Rick Perry Caves, Claims State Has $35M to Fund Planned Parenthood-less Women's Health Program


by: Katherine Haenschen

Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:22 AM CST

Clearly succumbing to intense statewide and national pressure not to end the Women's Health Program in Texas, Rick Perry promised yesterday that he'd find the $35 million necessary to keep WHP going without Medicaid, while also barring Planned Parenthood from receiving any funds. Good luck with that!

In 2011 Rick Perry cut $15 billion from the state's budget, including $73.6 million from family planning alone, due to a massive budgetary shortfall. He can no longer plug the holes in the budget with the Federal stimulus funds he loves to accept and then campaign against. Now, rather than pay a mere $4 million to keep WHP going and in return receive approximately $35 million from the Feds, Perry says he's going to find that $35 million in state funds to keep the program going, while also cutting the largest service provider to low-income women in Texas.

According to CPPP, the $73 million in cuts by Perry and his Republican legislature to family planning funding resulted in 150,000 low-income women losing access to preventative care and family planning. If the Medicaid WHP program shuts down, another 114,000 women will lose access. That will result in an 80% decrease in the number of low-women in Texas who receive basic healthcare services.

Texans should be extremely skeptical of the political game Rick Perry is playing with women's health funding.

Let's look at the facts:

  • Our state is broke -- at the start of last session, there was a $27 billion projected budget shortfall. Things are so bad I always expect to see Comptroller Susan Combs panhandling at the corner of 11th and I-3.
  • The current Medicaid WHP program saves the state $231 million in Medicaid costs by preventing unwanted pregnancies.
  • Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of services under the Medicaid WHP -- they provide 44% of all services under the program. They're also one of the most cost-efficient providers.
  • Our other providers lack the capacity to handle what PP can't if they're excluded. The $73 million Perry slashed from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to support family planning caused many of the other providers to cut staff, reduce hours, or close outright.
  • Planned Parenthood's 65 health centers in Texas provide over 100,000 cervical cancer screenings, 120,000 breast cancer screenings, and 440,931 tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections. Our other clinics simply can't handle this increased patient load.

Perry is only now promising to reinstate women's healthcare funding due to the tremendous public outcry over ending the Medicaid WHP program -- an outcry that is the work of Planned Parenthood and other partners that support providing low-income women with access to basic healthcare. His real goal is to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood. Initially the Legislature passed a law barring Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds as part of the WHP -- however, that law was in direct violation of the Social Security Act, which makes clear that a state can't discriminate against any provider. There is clearly nothing medically wrong with Planned Parenthood's 65 health centers -- they still have all of their necessary licenses. This is a politically motivated effort by Perry to shut down the state's top provider of services to low-income women because they also support a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion.

Rick Perry is willing to unnecessarily balloon state spending on the women's health program in an attempt to drive one provider out of business. As taxpayers, we should all be outraged! Here we have a gaping budget hole, schools are closing, state workers are losing their jobs, and important programs are getting cut left and right. Meanwhile, Perry is smiting the one bright spot in our state's healthcare program -- the $9 in Federal funds we get for every $1 Texas spends on women's health and family planning, which in turn saves us $40 million in Texas taxpayer dollars and $231 million in Medicaid costs per year by preventing unwanted pregnancies.

The big irony here is that Perry's decision will actually INCREASE abortions. As CPPP explains, "by devastating family planning, the state will actually increase abortions. A state-only program would be a shadow of the program Texas has now, undermining the health care of women and children, costing taxpayers, and increasing abortions."

Helluva job, Perry! Now you've got to shake $35 million out of the couch cushions in your rental mansion in order to fund a sorry replacement for our excellent Medicaid Women's Health Program. Clearly Perry's feeling the heat from slashing 80% of low-income women's healthcare. Let's keep it up and see if we can't get him to back down from a state-run program and restore the Medicaid WHP, Planned Parenthood and all.

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VIDEO: "The Governor is Cutting off All Family Planning for Women in the State of Texas."


by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:00 PM CST

This is BOR's Video of the Day, or VOTD, our nightly video clip segment that hopefully provides you with a laugh or a chance to think at the end of the day.

Thank heavens for Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of another strong Texas woman, Ann Richards. Richards is sounding the alarm about the national Republican war on women's health, and given her close ties to Texas, making sure that her home state gets the attention it deserves for the Legislature's draconian cuts to women's healthcare and family planning services.

Here's Richards on The Daily Show last night talking about the good work Planned Parenthood does to prevent unwanted pregnancy and help keep women healthy. She also touches on the big problems we're having here in Texas. We are so lucky to have Cecile Richards in charge of an organization as important as Planned Parenthood!





Don't mess with Texas women!

Check out all of our BOR videos of the day on the VOTD tag.  

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Release Roundup: End of Women's Health (Program) in Texas


by: Ben Sherman

Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 02:46 PM CST

Texas progressives and health advocates are outraged by the news that Texas' Women's Health Program is coming to an end because Texas Republicans will no longer fund it. We received press releases from

  • State Rep. Garnet Coleman
  • Planned Parenthood Austin
  • Center for Public Policy Priorities
  • State Rep. Armando Walle
  • State Rep. Jessica Farrar
  • Texas Democratic Party

And here are some excerpts from them:

State Rep. Garnet Coleman:

I write out of great concern for the future of the Medicaid Women's Health Program (WHP) in Texas. The newly adopted rule defining "affiliate" and preventing providers affiliated with entities that offer safe and legal pregnancy termination from participating in the WHP, as you know, will essentially end the program in Texas.

Beth Cox - Planned Parenthood Austin:

Governor Perry's move to end the Medicaid Women's Health Program (WHP), through a rule change at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) that violates federal law, effectively strips 130,000 of Texas' most vulnerable women from their access to basic health care, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, annual exams, and birth control.

Center for Public Policy Priorities:

Every one of us wants to live and work in healthy communities where we all have the opportunity to reach our potential. But our state's elected leaders are pursuing a tragic course that undermines these goals. Effective March 14, the state plans to implement a new rule designed to exclude Planned Parenthood from participating in our state's Women's Health Program, but which in reality will destroy the program. The Women's Health Program provides essential well-woman services, including pap smears, birth control, and breast exams to low-income women without health insurance ages 18 to 44.  By implementing this new rule, the state provokes an almost certain cut-off of 90 percent of the program's funds, which come from the federal government.

State Rep. Armando Walle:

Texas already leads the nation in the number of uninsured families. The adoption of this rule will lead to 130,000 poor Texas women losing access to preventative and lifesaving care including screenings for cervical and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and birth control. This access to basic health services helps these women stay healthy and plan their pregnancies properly. Instead, taxpayers will be left footing the bill for the additional millions of dollars in Medicaid costs related to the loss of this program and the resulting rise in unintended pregnancies, untreated disease and emergency room visits.

State Rep. Jessica Farrar:

Texas is clearly in the wrong, and though the Governor, the Attorney General, Commissioner Suehs, and Comptroller Combs have spun this story, the truth is coming out. Last week, a north Texas voter contacted my office after contacting her own Representative, whom the voter felt showed a clear disregard for her health. The voter shared with me her situation, one that all too many Texas women find themselves in. "I am very aware of the Texas HHS cutting funding and am livid, as this was my only hope for cancer screenings," she said. "This recession has completely wiped out my savings and I have been laid off two times in three years, thus I have no health insurance and limited access to health care." Here is the truth: The Women's Health Program served more than 130,000 uninsured Texas women each year. WHP provided cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and contraception. Governor Perry, Attorney General Abbott, Commissioner Suehs, and Comptroller Combs want Texans to believe that  by allowing Planned Parenthood clinics and other "affiliates of abortion providers" to administer the Women's Health Program, the program led to abortion. In fact, WHP and abortion had only one connection: The Women's Health Program provided services that are proven to decrease the number of abortions.

Texas Democratic Party:

This is what happens when you have men dictating women's health issues. This decision is absolutely indefensible and every Texas Republican should be ashamed. Republicans here in Texas and across the country continue their war on women. Today's despicable decision will endanger the lives of thousands of women in our state. It's clear that Republicans are completely incapable of going more than a day without doing something to endanger women's health. Texas Republicans never miss an opportunity to throw the most vulnerable Texans under the bus so that they can pick a fight with the federal government. Schools are closing, our air is the dirtiest in the country and over a hundred thousand women are about to lose access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and contraception. It's time for Texas Republicans to stop playing costly political games and get serious about our shared problems.
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Feminazis Unite: Remembering Limbaugh's Sexist Legacy


by: Emily Cadik

Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:30 AM CST

Celebrating International Women's Day is made so much sweeter this year against the backdrop of dozens of advertisers dropping The Rush Limbaugh Show because of his latest sexist remarks.  But Limbaugh was a sexist long before Sandra Fluke riled him up.  

A trip down misogynist memory lane:

Media matters has a pretty extensive list here.

Let's not forget that it was Perry who made Limbaugh an Honorary Texan at a Mike McCaul Fundraiser.  McCauls' father-in-law owns Clear Channel, which hosts Limbaugh's show.  Bain (of Romney's sordid past) also owns Clear Channel. And the Clear Channel directors heap money on Romney, who now won't criticize Limbaugh for the Sandra Fluke remarks.  Guess it helps to have friends in low places.  

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Republican Claims of Supporting Women's Health Program are Laughable


by: Adam Schwitters

Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:30 AM CST


Yesterday, State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) took issue with claims by Rick Perry and other Texas Republicans that it is Democrats (particularly the Obama administration), not Republicans in the State Capitol, that are trying to kill the Women’s Health Program which has served over 130,000 low income Texas women, providing cancer screenings and other basic health services, but not abortions.

Rep. Villarreal said, “The idea that Texas Republicans have supported the Women’s Health Program is laughable. It has no connection to reality.  Anyone who paid attention to the last legislative session knows that Texas Republicans consistently demonstrated their hostility towards the Women’s Health Program and other family planning programs. Republican-dominated committees in the House and Senate blocked ten different bills to continue the Women’s Health Program.” (emphasis mine)

Villarreal’s staff provided a handy list of the many proposed bills from the 2011 Legislative Session that would have continued the WHP:


  • HB 419 by Rep. Villarreal: blocked in House Human Services Committee after a hearing
  • HB 1255 by Rep. Strama: no hearing in House Public Health Committee
  • HB 1478 by Rep. Woolley: blocked in House Public Health Committee after a hearing
  • HB 2299 by Rep. Coleman: delayed in the House Human Services until the last month of the legislative session, and then blocked in the Local and Consent Calendars Committee
  • HB 3256 by Rep. Strama: no hearing in House Public Health Committee
  • SB 325 by Sen. Van de Putte: no hearing in Senate Health and Human Services Committee
  • SB 575 by Sen. Van de Putte: blocked in Senate Health and Human Services Committee after a hearing
  • SB 585 by Sen. Watson: blocked in Senate Health and Human Services Committee after a hearing
  • SB 1138 by Rep. Rodriguez: blocked in House Public Health Committee after a hearing
  • SB 1854 by Sen. Deuell: delayed in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee until the last month of the session, and then blocked on the Intent Calendar

While the session was dominated by budget cutting measures, Republican legislators were particularly zealous in trying to cut funding to the WHP (a program which has saved the state “$20 million in general revenue after accounting for the state’s $3 million investment.”).  

In fact, no program faced more cuts during the budget debate on the House floor.  In all, House Republicans passed seven amendments to cut WHP funding:


  • An amendment by Rep. Weber to cut $9.3 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Christian to cut $6.6 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Bohac to cut $14.4 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Murphy to cut $1.4 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Miller to cut $21.2 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Zedler to cut $1.8 million
  • An amendment by Rep. Laubenberg to cut $9.2 million

Funding for the program dropped from $111 million in 2010-11 to $37 million in 2012-13.  “The Legislative Budget Board estimates that the reduction in funding will result in 20,000 additional unplanned births and an additional $98 million in state general revenue expenditures during the current biennium.”

Thanks to Mike Villarreal and his staff for responding to Rick Perry’s outrageous claims.

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Republican War on Women Rages on International Women's Day


by: Katherine Haenschen

Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 09:00 AM CST

Today is International Women's Day. The purpose of the day is to mark the economic, political, and social achievements of women. It's hard not to mark the occasion without a hint of irony, as Republicans in Texas and across the country work tirelessly to roll back women's rights.

Republicans' foremost goal over the last year and a half, has been to take women back to what they must consider the "good old days" -- before safe, legal abortion; before widely accessible birth control; before prenatal testing; before we had control of our bodies and as a result control of our lives. Make no mistake -- Republicans want to make the "Second Sex" into a permanent second class.

Republicans hold hearings on our own private healthcare decisions, and don't bother to let any women speak up on the topic. Republicans force women to undergo unnecessary transvaginal probing, and force women's doctors to recite unnecessary ideological claptrap to their patients. Republicans slash 66% from the family planning budget, then decide if they can't exclude the largest provider of care within the Women's Health Program from receiving funds, they'll just shut down the entire program, no matter the cost in women's lives.

Today, on International Women's Day, there's no reason for women to be celebrating here in Texas -- our rights and our basic access to healthcare is under attack.

  • 25% of Texas women are uninsured, the highest rate of uninsured women in the country.
  • Texas has the 3rd highest rate of cervical cancer in the country -- an easily diagnosed and treated disease if women have access to care.
  • In 2011, Rick Perry signed a budget that slashed funding for women's health by 66%, resulting in 180,000 women losing access to preventative care.
  • By banning Planned Parenthood from receiving funds through Medicare's Women's Health Program, Perry will cause another 130,000 women to lose access to basic care.
  • This program Republicans are eliminating saves the state $42 million a year by preventing unwanted pregnancies.

It sure is a great time to be a woman in Texas! Yee haw!

It's just as bad across the country. In 2011, states passed 83 laws restricting access to abortion, due to the new wave of Republicans elected in 2010. States are banning abortion after 20 weeks, implementing procedural hurdles including mandatory sonograms and waiting periods, and banning private insurance plans from covering abortions -- talk about Big Government!

And it's just going to get worse for women before next year's International Women's Day.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 430 abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures just this year. And it's only March! Yet again I'm thankful the Texas legislature only meets every other year -- less chance to mess with Texas women.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates compete to see who can be more extreme in their opposition to women's health. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich all want to defund Planned Parenthood, the leading provider of healthcare to low-income women; they support "personhood" amendments that make a fertilized egg equivalent to a person corporation; and all but Romney signed a pledge that they would only appoint anti-choice individuals to key governmental positions. Rick Santorum is by far the most extreme, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest, and supporting the rights of states to ban birth control, even amongst married couples. (Again with the Big Government!) He thinks that birth control harms women and society. And of course, none of them want insurance companies to provide a co-pay for said birth control, oh my heavens no!

Make no mistake: Republicans are trying to destroy women's access to basic healthcare, and limit our ability to use our reproductive rights. And they're doing it for political gain, regardless of the actual cost in human lives to women and their families.

Today, in honor of International Women's Day, Burnt Orange Report is devoting our coverage to the Republican War on Women. This is a war on women's access to healthcare, it's a war on access to basic reproductive services, it's an war on women's abilities to control our own bodies, and as a result our own lives.

Enough is enough!

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