AUSTIN (KXAN) — “What do we want? Access to health care! When do we want it? Now!” Planned Parenthood supporters chanted as they delivered 15,000 petition letters to Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, asking him to stop attacking the organization.
Supporters walked to an overpass on Interstate 35 where they hung a banner in support of Planned Parenthood. Thousands wrote letters to the governor telling him their personal stories. They oppose the state’s waiver application for the Healthy Texas Women Program. Planned Parenthood advocates say the program was created to block access to their clinics.
“Healthy Texas women — most people don’t know what it is, they’re trying to put in something new to replace something that isn’t broken, that is trustworthy and so it’s an issue because it takes away that care away from those people,” Savanah Low, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, said.
In May the state asked the federal government to reverse course and provide funding for a state-run women’s health program that excludes abortion providers.
Since 2011, Texas has chosen to forgo millions in federal Medicare dollars rather than let abortion providers participate in a statewide program that provides birth control, pregnancy testing and health screenings for low-income women.