Texas AG Sues Federal Government over Medicaid Cut Off of Women's Health Program

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wasted little time after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it was cutting off Medicaid funding for the Women's Health Program. He filed suit the next day.

It was Abbott's second lawsuit against the federal government last week. The first suit challenges the Voting Rights Act used to reject Texas' new voter ID law. Abbott posted on his Twitter account "Don't think I let the day go by without another lawsuit against the Federal Gov't. One coming any minute."

The lawsuit argues, according to the Austin American-Statesman, that the federal government is "seeking to commandeer and coerce the states' lawmaking processes" by forcing the state into giving taxpayer money to elective abortion providers.

Governor Rick Perry issued a statement in support of the lawsuit: "This is about life and the rule of law, which Texas respects and the Obama administration does not. I applaud Attorney General Greg Abbott's swift action to defend our state's laws and our ability to carry out the will of Texans." In his statement, Gov. Perry reiterated his pledge to fund the services for which the federal government would have paid about $30 million annually, with a state contribution of $3.3 million.

The new Texas law, which took effect on March 14, prohibits Planned Parenthood or any other facility with ties to abortion providers from delivering cancer screening, contraceptives and basic health care to low-income women under the Medicaid Women’s Health Program. Federal Medicaid law provides that women should be able to select their caregivers. About $30 million dollars of federal Medicaid funds are involved.

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