The following ran in the March 17, 2012, edition of the Houston Chronicle. Political Scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.
March 23, 2012
In his latest legal action against the federal government, Attorney General Greg Abbott Friday filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the Obama administration from ending federal funding of a key Texas health program for low-income women.
The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Health and Human Services decision, made after Texas excluded clinics affiliated with abortion providers from the Medicaid program, is capricious and interferes with the state's ability to promote women's health.
"Surely a Women's Health Program that withholds taxpayer subsidies from Planned Parenthood does more to 'promote the objectives of Medicaid' than a state in which the Women's Health Program does not exist at all," Abbott wrote in the suit.
The suit was filed a day after the director of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services formally informed the state it will phase out the Medicaid Women's Health program. The agency's director said Texas' decision to deny Planned Parenthood from participating left it no other choice....
Cal Jillson, a Southern Methodist University political scientist, said the Obama administration's demand is not capricious and that Abbott's suit's appears to be a losing battle.
"The law by which the federal government has transferred funds to help with women's health issues gives women the choice of providers they use," said Jillson. "It doesn't give states the right to select among providers those that women may choose. That's the key issue."...