by Rene Resendez
Resendez spends lots of her time rallying for women’s health in the Red Basin.
My name is Rene and I live in Odessa, Texas, a small town in rural West Texas. For those unfamiliar with West Texas, there aren’t many health care providers for women like me to choose from. And as a 25 year old college student, private insurance is out of reach.
For the past five years, the Women’s Health Program and Planned Parenthood have been there for me – no matter what. They are there for my sister, too, and Planned Parenthood was there for our mom, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at about my age after an abnormal test at Planned Parenthood.
I have been following the state of Planned Parenthood’s exclusion from the Women’s Health Program for awhile since I started a petition back in February to keep the WHP in Texas. Because Planned Parenthood was one of the healthcare providers in the WHP, its funding was being threatened. That petition is here. Under petition updates, I’ve listed updates about the WHP including a story about my local Planned Parenthood location closing.
More recently, Governor Perry stated that Texas would not be accepting the Medicaid funding from Obamacare, but then went on to say he was going to fund the WHP with that money. The money he already said Texas would refuse. Perry’s budget cuts have already forced one Planned Parenthood in my community to close. Another one has reduced its hours.
Now Governor Perry is trying to re-create the state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program, and cut Planned Parenthood out of it – even though for countless women like me, Planned Parenthood is the only regular health provider we have. Not to mention it is the provider we have grown to trust. Also, if Planned Parenthood is excluded, this would overburden other clinics that serve WHP patients, as well as leave many women in the dark as to where they could get their healthcare.
As a patient of Planned Parenthood, and an enrollee in the Women’s Health Program, I want a voice in Governor Perry’s overhaul of the program. I should be able to decide who provides my healthcare. Planned Parenthood has been a place my family relies on and has served us well through the years.
I am writing the Department of State Health Services asking that it hold a public hearing on its proposal to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Texas Women’s Health Program. Under Texas state law, if 25 people request a hearing on a proposed rule, it has to be granted.
While I’m only one person, there are countless women just like me throughout Texas. Please join me in asking for a public hearing on this proposal that could take preventive health care away from me, and tens of thousands of women just like me.
Without the Women’s Health Program and Planned Parenthood, I don’t know what I would do, or where I would go for the cancer screenings I know I need.
Please sign my petition. Politics should not interfere with women’s access to basic health care in the state of Texas. And the women at risk of losing services deserve a voice.
For more on the state of the Women’s Health Program in Texas, follow Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check and Thanh Tan at The Texas Tribune. And in the latest edition of The Texas Observer, a cover story by Carolyn Jones, “One Year Later, Cuts to Women’s Health Have Hurt More Than Just Planned Parenthood.”
[Editor's note: more people than just cis women need and want access to the reproductive health care that is provided by Planned Parenthood.
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