Attorney General Ken Paxton today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar asking him to reverse the Obama administration’s exclusion of Texas from programs that provide family planning and related preventive health services to low-income women across the state. In 2013 the Obama administration removed Texas from the eligible list of Title X program recipients because it refused to provide taxpayer funds to abortion providers.

“The Obama administration denied the conscience rights of Texans when it excluded Texas from Title X funding because of its laws that respect the sanctity of life among the unborn,” Attorney General Paxton said. “A precursor to participation in federal programs should not be an uncompromising commitment to abortion providers. The freedom of conscience should never be demoted to second-class status among our civil liberties.”

Recently, the Trump administration issued new guidance to state Medicaid directors restoring the federal government’s respect for the authority of the states to decide program standards. In his letter to Secretary Azar, sent on behalf of all Texans and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Attorney General Paxton noted that Congress is abundantly clear that government is not to discriminate against those who support the rights of the unborn.    

Forty-eight states and local health departments are part of Title X. Since funds were cut off to Texas, taxpayers have funded the state’s family planning program, demonstrating the strength and commitment of Texas to protect the lives of its residents, both born and unborn.

“While Texas reapplies to become a recipient of Title X funding, we’re asking HHS to review its agency practices,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We hope that such a review will assure that Texas law forbidding the extension of taxpayer funds to entities that perform or promote elective abortions, or otherwise affiliate with such entities, will not summarily disqualify Texas from otherwise participating in the Title X program.”

Attorney General Paxton has made it a priority to protect the lives of unborn children and honor their dignity. Currently, he is working to stop the gruesome and inhumane practice of dismemberment abortions, and he is defending a new law in Texas on the humane disposition of fetal remains. In another case, the attorney general is fighting to defund Planned Parenthood after undercover video footage surfaced showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts to an individual they believed represented a biotech company.

View the letter to HHS Secretary Azar