Texas to Receive Federal Funding for Women’s Health Services Despite Prohibiting Abortion Spending

Published by Matt Fishman on

Texas has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to receive “approximately $350 million in federal funding for women’s health services” through Medicaid. Texas’s funding will support women ages 18 through 44 who do “not currently receive benefits through a Medicaid program that provides full benefits”, and with a “net family income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level”.

Previously, from 2006 through 2012, Texas was receiving funding through the Medicaid program. In 2011, however, when applying for the program’s renewal, Texas requested that “family planning providers available to women covered under the state’s Medicaid state plan… conform to the Texas state law [Texas Human Resources Code § 32.024]”. This law requires “that money spent… for women’s health care services… is not used to perform or promote elective abortions, or to contract with entities that perform or promote elective abortions or affiliate with entities that perform or promote elective abortions.” In response, the U.S. Medicaid program “made a policy decision not to approve Texas’ demonstration extension request.” On January 1, 2013, Texas Women’s Health Program “was established as a fully state-funded program.”

Then, in June of 2017, Texas reapplied to the program to better “provide family planning services as well as other women’s health services that contribute to preconception care, better birth outcomes and improved maternal health in Texas.” Today, the HHS says they “have determined that the restrictions on freedom of choice for family planning providers promotes the objectives of Medicaid by providing family planning and related services to women who would otherwise not have such coverage”; therefore, approving Texas’ reinstatement into the program.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott commented that he is “grateful to President Trump and his administration for approving this waiver, and for his commitment to protecting the unborn while providing much-needed health resources to Texas women.”

Texas’ funding “is approved for a five year period, from January 22, 2020 through December 31, 2024.”