Testimony of Abby Johnson silences crowd at DSHS public hearing

September 6, 2012 - 5:08pm

This past Tuesday, September 4th the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) hosted a public hearing regarding the proposed Texas Women's Health program rules excluding Planned Parenthood and abortion providers from the program.

There was standing room only with a majority of the registered speakers being advocates for Planned Parenthood claiming that without Planned Parenthood there will be no healthcare for women. Former Director of Planned Parenthood, Abby Johnson silenced the crowd with her below testimony. She was also joined by leaders from Texas Alliance for Life, Texas Right to Life, Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, Austin Coalition for Life, San Antonio Coalition for Life, the Heidi Group and the And Then There Were None ministry.

"My name is Abby Johnson and I am a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. I support excluding Planned Parenthood from the Texas Women’s Health Program. I was an employee of Planned Parenthood for eight years and directed both a family planning and abortion center in Texas.

One of the things that you have heard over and over again – Planned Parenthood is that 46% of women of previous Medicaid waiver program came to Planned Parenthood for services. They desperately want you to believe that they are the only [place] that women have access to for gynecological care. However, that is simply untrue. What you need to know and what they will not tell you is that 79% of women went to an alternate provider – a provider other than Planned Parenthood while on the Medicaid waiver program. There is a simple reason that almost 80% of women would seek services at other providers outside of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is not a comprehensive care provider, they are not even close to being a comprehensive care provider. They do not provide breast cancer services. They don’t provide any mammogram services. In fact, Planned Parenthood is a level 1 breast cancer service provider. They are only allowed to provide manual breast cancer services. No diagnostic services, no treatment services. That is the truth and that is what they will not tell you.

Planned Parenthood is only allowed to provide extremely limited gynecological health care. In Planned Parenthood if it is noticed that at the time of an annual exam that a woman has elevated blood pressure, they would have to refer her to another healthcare center. Why? Because Planned Parenthood does not provide comprehensive care and cannot manage her newly diagnosed health condition. They would have to send her to one of the other Medicaid waiver providers in the state.

There are more than 2,000 of them, close to 3,000. There are only 49 Planned Parenthood health centers in the state of Texas. So let’s compare: over 2,000 doctors offices in the state of Texas compared to 49 Planned Parenthood health centers.

There is no way that Planned Parenthood can even begin to say that women would not have adequate access to care. And these are women that would be seeing doctors, not nurses. Because there are no doctors at Planned Parenthood health centers except the ones who are there to provide abortion services.

Not only do they not provide comprehensive care for non-pregnant clients, they are only able to provide abortion care for pregnant ones. According to Planned Parenthood’s own annual report, nationally 98% of pregnant women who enter Planned Parenthood receive abortions. They do not provide prenatal care - only abortion. And even though Medicaid rules specifically state that abortion and family planning should not mix, Planned Parenthood does not follow those rules. Abortions are provided on the same days that Medicaid pills are distributed, in the same building, in fact, in the same exam rooms. Sometimes on the same clients. At Planned Parenthood abortion is advocated as a method of family planning even though that is also a violation of Medicaid rules. They are not an organization that can be trusted with our tax dollars and they should not be trusted with Texas women."