Months after cutting Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding and raiding clinics, Texas has now ended funding for the organization’s HIV prevention programs. The Texas Tribune reports that PP received notification on Monday that the Department of Health Services would not renew its contract for prevention services.
The grant, which PP has received since 1988, is federally funded through the Centers for Disease Control but, like most federal monies, it’s distributed by the state. According to the Tribune, the grant was used for condom distribution and HIV counseling and testing. The newspaper reports:
“[...] the organization served individuals with HIV in five counties in the Houston area. Since 2014, the grant has funded more than 138,000 HIV tests and helped in identifying 1,182 people with HIV...”
“I don’t know who else is going to fill that gap, and I don’t know if anyone can frankly,” the spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast told the Tribune. “Every time the state cuts these programs in an attempt to score political points…the true victims here are tens of thousands of women and men who no longer have access to health care that they need.”
And indeed, Texas’ crusade against Planned Parenthood is both aggressive and political. Texas governor Greg Abbott, spurred by the deceptive videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, publicly acknowledged that closing clinics is a particular mission. In a statement after ending PP’s Medicare funding, Abbott celebrated his moral victory in a press release:
“...Ending the Medicaid participation of Planned Parenthood affiliates in the State of Texas is another step in providing greater access to safe healthcare for women while protecting our most vulnerable – the unborn.”
Apparently pulling HIV prevention funding is part and parcel of safe healthcare for women. It remains unclear whether or not the state will allocate the funding elsewhere. A health department spokesperson told the Tribune that Texas was “working with local health departments in the area to continue to provide these services.”
Image via AP.