Yesterday the Texas Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will begin enforcing a law in mid-March prohibiting doctors and clinics affiliated with organizations that provide abortion services from receiving state Medicaid funding. Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs signed the rule yesterday, which was passed by the Republican Controlled state Congress last year.

The rule, which would deny state funding even to institutions that do not directly provide abortions, could shut down the Wome’s Health Program and deny health services to approximately 130,000 impoverished women.

Planned Parenthood, which would also be denied significant amounts of funding under the new rule, issued a statement saying, “Texas women and Texas taxpayers need this program. The Medicaid Women’s Health Program saves lives, prevents unintended pregnancies and saves taxpayer dollars. For many women, Medicaid WHP is their only source of health care. Texas already leads the nation in the number of uninsured families.”

Associated Press 2/24/12; Kaiser Health News 2/24/12