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Illustration byJason Stout/The Austin Chronicle


Last week, Texas notified Planned Parenthood of its intention to cut Medicaid funds to the health care provider because heavy-handed intrusion into its citizens' reproductive health is about as "Texas" as adults chest-painting for youth football games. Citing heavily edited videotapes recorded by an organization of terrorist-sympathizers that damningly show Planned Parenthood doing nothing illegal, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Texas's low-income ladies to shove their lady health care wherever the transvaginal wand goes (he's not sure).

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While Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong relative to fetal tissue donations, as confirmed by investigations in multiple states -- including pro-choice hippie enclaves Georgia, Missouri, and South Dakota -- what Planned Parenthood did not do was tuck tail and shrink into the night like a decent lady who knows her place. Instead, it had the gall to act defiant in the face of the Texas's defunding actions and signaled its plan to appeal the Medicaid cuts, as if community health centers should even be allowed to do that. So obviously small government Abbott and his hired goons upped the ante:

Three days after Gov. Greg Abbott announced his decision to end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, state health department investigators showed up on Thursday at Planned Parenthood health centers in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville with orders to turn over thousands of pages of documents, including patients’ records and employees’ home addresses and telephone numbers.

Witch Hunts for some. Miniature American Flags for others!

Texas's unwanted entry by legal force into the sensitive areas of these facilities is an attempt to gain evidence of something (ANYTHING) that will allow the Republican-controlled state to nail Planned Parenthood's pelt to the wall. Is this intrusion into the privacy of Planned Parenthood's patients as intrusive as a medical professional asking you if there's a gun in your home? Of course not. (Even if this information would aid in providing for public safety, the Second Amendment gives you the right to bear arms that you don't have to register or get asked about because that's soooo gauche, Doctor.)

Regarding why Texas needs copies of patients' pap smear records, it should be noted that the state of Texas asserts two bases for the Medicaid termination: (1) the dumb videos that gave wingnuts all the vapors, and (2) fraud. We're not lawyers for the state of Texas because we refused to participate in the blood oath ceremony, but this seems like a "fishing" "fracking" expedition that aims to extract some actionable clerical errors in the thousands of billings that will ignite an underlying basis for these fraud claims. Definitely worth a lot of time and taxpayer money.

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Planned Parenthood has 30 days to appeal the Medicaid termination. Alabama, Arkansas, and Louisiana have also moved to wow the ladies and cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. The organization has filed suit to stop the cuts in each of those states, all of which it should win because states aren't allowed to do that.

As for Texas, the state has tried to kill these health service providers with death by a thousand elected pricks. Through a constant flow of War On Women laws shrouded in public health legalese, Republican DudeBros have already slashed state funding for Planned Parenthood to $1 million annually (from $27 million in 2010) and closed 155 clinics that provide family planning and abortion services. We are also obliged to note that abortion is still a legal medical procedure. Yes, LEGAL. And while poor people, teens, and many random ladies and dudes will find it increasingly difficult to access the many services that Planned Parenthood provides (including abortions), the female loved ones (or merely sexed ones) of these GOP lawmakers will always have money and access for "discrete procedures" here or abroad.

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But we get it, Texas GOP. You don't want to be known as the state that aids its citizens in gaining access to family planning and reproductive health care. You would rather be known as the state with the high rate of STDs and teen pregnancies. Also fried stuff. Congratulations, y'all.

As for Gov. Abbott, he is fucking stoked about these developments. Sure, he may have come to office campaigning against government overreach when it comes to such things as taxes and environmental regulation. And he may have thrown a bone or two to the insane Jade Helm weirdos. But whether it's preventing local governments from outlawing fracking, or forcing local governments to pick up the tab  for enforcing federal immigration policies, or merely stopping the poors from seeking treatment for a yeast infection, Abbott has steadfastly practiced his "government overreach for me, not for thee" philosophy.

We have to give it to Texas, though. You guys sure have a type.

[NYT]

Ed. Note: The post has been updated to credit The Austin Chronicle's Jason Stout for his fantastic illustration, which we love, and so do you.

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