Health program losing federal funds, clinics

By Angela K. Brown

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Texas is among several states where Republican-controlled legislatures have voted to cut off Planned Parenthood's funding. Wisconsin has withheld funding for family planning and breast cancer screenings. Lawmakers in Indiana and Kansas voted to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid or other federal funding, but judges blocked the laws. North Carolina's Legislature voted to withhold state and federal money for non-abortion services, such as contraception and teen pregnancy programs, but a judge blocked that law, too.

In Texas, supporters of the law taking effect Wednesday argue that it will keep taxpayer money out of organizations that support abortion, which they believe should be banned in the state.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying that if Perry had found state funding to support women's health, he should "immediately restore the $73 million for breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, birth control and health screenings that was eliminated." The organization kicked off a "Don't Mess with Texas Women" bus tour last week to raise awareness and has not said if it is considering a lawsuit to block the Texas law.

Patients caught in the middle are clearly frustrated.

Alexis Lohse, 31, of Fort Worth, said she lost her health insurance when she quit her job to return to college and was about to enroll in the Women's Health Program before hearing about the impending loss of federal funds.

"I'm working hard every day raising two kids and taking classes at night while my husband works two part-time jobs ... and (our financial situation) is a balancing act," she said. "It's frustrating that my choices are being limited."

Associated Press writer Chris Tomlinson in Austin contributed to this report.

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