Earlier this week, the Trump administration reversed an Obama administration decision to withhold federal women's health funds from Texas due to the state's exclusion of Planned Parenthood from a statewide health program.
The Texas Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Trump administration had reversed a 2013 decision by the Obama administration to cut off some federal Medicaid funds to the Lone Star State after its legislature voted to cut Planned Parenthood out of the Healthy Texas Women program two years earlier, in an effort to keep taxpayer funds from flowing to abortion providers.
The Austin American-Statesman explains that the state-level program provides — among other things — family planning services to low-income women and that the restored funds will total $350 million over a five-year period.
"The Lone Star State is once again in partnership with the federal government to provide meaningful family planning and health services while fostering a culture of life," reads a Wednesday statement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the funds. "I am 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 health officials asked the federal government to restore the funds in May 2017, just a few months after President Donald Trump took office. On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services granted the state's request. The decision was announced on the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade abortion decision, which Trump also declared to be "National Sanctity of Human Life Day."
Naturally, Planned Parenthood isn't happy at all about the administration's decision to restore Texas' funding, arguing that it would give a green light to other states to make the same kind of decision.
"This backdoor 'defund' could — and will — pave the way for other states to follow Texas's dangerous lead, with grim consequences for repro health nationwide," Planned Parenthood Action tweeted.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also weighed in on the decision, criticizing the administration for restoring the funds despite the block on Planned Parenthood. "This is unacceptable and jeopardizes women's health," Feinstein said. "The decision should be reversed."
In contrast, pro-life Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said that the funding restoration "is an acknowledgement that the Lone Star State was right all along."
In a Wednesday statement, Dannenfelser praised the administration, urging the president "to immediately free all states to act on the will of their citizens to support women's health care without encouraging abortion."