'Don't Mess With Texas Women' rally held at Planned Parenthood

By Mary Benton, Reporter, mbenton@kprc.com
Published On: Mar 12 2012 05:13:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2012 05:46:56 PM CDT

March 12, 2012: Dozens of people rally in front of Planned Parenthood, calling for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials to stop playing politics with women's health care. Mary Benton reports.

HOUSTON -

Dozens of people rallied in front of Planned Parenthood in Houston Monday, calling for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other state officials to stop playing politics with women's health care.

The group is concerned about the fate of the Women's Health Program, which provides cancer screenings and birth control for more than 100,000 low-income women across the state.

The program receives federal funding under the rules of Medicaid. 

However, a new law passed by the Texas legislature would prevent those funds from being used by Planned Parenthood or any other medical clinic associated with abortion services to administer the Women's Health Program, even though public money is not used to fund abortions.

The federal government said that is illegal and has threatened to cut off funding to Texas, unless it allows Planned Parenthood to continue participating.

"The only place that I know will take the Women's Health Program is Planned Parenthood," said Jonee Longoria, a single mother. "This place has saved my life."

Perry has since vowed to find state funding to replenish the loss federal dollars, however, the governor is accusing the Barack Obama administration of federal overreach.

Planned Parenthood has organized a bus tour across the state to draw attention to the threats against women's health care.

Other groups said the organization does not speak for all Texas women.

"We definitely want to make our presence known for the right of the unborn," said Terry Hlavenka, who held a counter demonstration with members of her Kingwood church on Monday.

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