Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

A place to start

At least one elected Republican is feeling a bit angsty about the Republican war on women’s health.

For some GOP lawmakers, the issue gets deeply personal, and the line between party loyalty, allegiance to anti-abortion politics and public health is a tough balancing act. State Rep. Sarah Davis, a first-term Republican lawmaker from Houston, said she survived breast cancer because it was detected early.

“It pains me to think that there’d be another 32-year-old diagnosed with breast cancer and not be able to get screened or treated until stage 4, whereas I was treated at stage 1 and had a much better outcome,” she said.

Though she supported the Women’s Health Program during the session, Davis was visibly reluctant to discuss whether she would prefer to keep Planned Parenthood and its preventive services in the program in order to keep it going. The state estimates 44 percent of Women’s Health Program clients go to Planned Parenthood clinics for their well woman exams, birth control and STD screenings.

“It’s a very tough one,” she said. “I think it’s a shame. We’re losing $40 million, and that’s our tax money we paid that we’re not getting back. And it’s going somewhere else outside of Texas.”

Sorry, Sarah. I’m afraid you own this. I don’t remember you speaking out on this issue back when it mattered, during the session. I admit, you probably couldn’t derail the crazy train, but you could have showed a little leadership. Hand-wringing after the fact doesn’t do squat.

Ann Johnson

If there’s a Republican-favored district where an issue like the Women’s Health Program can and should have traction, it’s HD134. Whether you think the court-ordered maps are good for Republicans or Democrats, Dems aren’t going to gain any real ground in the Lege until they can be competitive in places like that. Between the demise of the WHP and the House budget that would have cut $10 billion from public education instead of “just” $5.4 billion, there’s plenty of material to work with in HD134. The new map moved me out of HD134 and back into HD145 again, but I’m still going to do whatever I can to get Ann Johnson elected. This and HD144 are the two legislative races to watch in Harris County. How Dems do in those races will go a long way to determining how much less awful the next legislative session could be.

By the way, I can’t let this pass without noting that HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs appears to have completely freaked out.

In an uncharacteristically angry letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs argues that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) won’t let Texas exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program, “then no state can ever confidently apply policies and requirements that advance important and legitimate state interests to regulate providers’ participation in Medicaid.”

What that means, Suehs wrote, is that “the state must allow tax cheats, deadbeat parents, and even people suspected of serious abuse to participate in the Medicaid program. This is a risk I am unwilling to expose our clients to.”

Seriously, Tom? You could probably sneeze at the Capitol any day of the week and give your cold to at least half a dozen tax cheats, deadbeat parents, and spouse abusers. Are you saying these people should be denied health insurance? Because it serves such an awesome purpose to force people to use the emergency rooms. Clearly, Commissioner Suehs is from the school of thought that only good people deserve to be helped. How much glass is there in your house, Tom? I continue to be amazed at the ability Planned Parenthood apparently has to turn seemingly normal adults into raving lunatics. I mean, I expect this kind of thing from idiots like Rick Perry, but I thought Suehs was a grownup. Silly me.

UPDATE: Did I mention that Tom Suehs was cracking up? Dude, take a vacation or something before you hurt yourself.

Related Posts:

12 Comments

  1. Mainstream says:

    Sarah has been a strong advocate for common sense policies, internally within the party and the legislative caucus, and in public forums. Your partisan bias is showing.

  2. What matters is her voting record, not inside baseball. Good intentions don’t count for much if your actions don’t match them.

  3. Iain Simpson says:

    I recall hearing from my friend Steve Fischer about a tiff he had with Sarah. According to Steve, on March 22 of last year, she stated on her website that Texas schools have more administrators than teachers, thus supporting the Republican call for cuts to education spending. Steve, at that time, was just finishing his term as a school board member and is active in education statewide. He supplied her figures that showed the number of administrators statewide to be about 1/12 the number of teachers. According to Steve, Davis then added the number of janitors and aides to the “administrators” figure to bolster her numbers and promptly banned Steve from commenting on her site.

    Now, I will confess that I am hearing this secondhand, but Steve Fischer is a well-respected member of the Texas Bar Board and a well-known lawyer in the Corpus area. If what he says is true, I find it extremely disappointing because I have known Sarah for years, though we haven’t talked in several. At any rate, this is the kind of thing that makes you question just how much backbone she has to swim against the party current.

  4. Linkmeister says:

    “at least half a dozen tax cheats, deadbeat parents, and spouse abusers.”

    And some of them might be your fellow legislators!

  5. Brad M. says:

    It seems Ms Davis wants it both ways.

    She can vote one way to appease the lock-stepping going on in Austin. Although come on though…the Rs have such a super majority so her vote isn’t really needed.

    But she can make comments that provide her cover for the next election cycle in an evenly split district. I.e. she can say she “publicly” spoke this way or that way. But as Kuff points out her votes are what counts.

  6. joshua bullard says:

    I would like allll to know that i will be blogging alot on the sarah davis vs ann johnson race in the 134 as my team is about to release to me 3 month’s of data pertaining to each of the candidates,i have yet to take a position – as to which one of these candidates i will support becuase i havent reviewed all of the facts-but one thing i can assure anyone reading-whom ever i support on this “blog”they will win.

    collecting intel
    on sarah davis and ann johnson
    joshua bullard

  7. [...] the Kuff connects the Republican war on women’s health to the 2012 legislative elections in [...]

  8. [...] the Kuff connects the Republican war on women’s health to the 2012 legislative elections in [...]

  9. [...] the Kuff connects the Republican war on women’s health to the 2012 legislative elections in [...]

  10. [...] Clearly that can be done. It won’t play everywhere in the state, but for sure there are some districts in which there should be plenty of [...]

  11. [...] the Kuff connects the Republican war on women’s health to the 2012 legislative elections in [...]

  12. [...] was a pretty decent Commissioner, his recent crackup over Planned Parenthood notwithstanding. Lord knows, he was better than Albert Hawkins, though all he really had to do for [...]

Bookmark and Share