03/22/2012 12:45 pm ET

Kay Bailey Hutchison Criticizes Rick Perry, Defends Planned Parenthood

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) ripped Governor Rick Perry on Thursday for excluding Planned Parenthood and other programs for women from the Lone Star State's health care program.

“I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so that we can have our share, our fair share, not more, of money for Medicaid to help low-income women have their healthcare services,” Hutchison said during an interview on MSNBC.

Hutchison expressed her support for Planned Parenthood and emphasized how low-income women rely on the government programs that are losing funding.

“I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms, they do so much of the healthcare, the preventative healthcare, and if they’re doing that, then we need to provide those services, absolutely,” Hutchison said. “We cannot afford to lose the Medicaid funding for low-income women.”

In mid-March, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would cut off all Medicaid funding for family planning to the state of Texas, following Perry's decision to implement a new law that excludes Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid Women's Health Program.

HuffPost's Laura Bassett reports:

The federal government pays for nearly 90 percent of Texas' $40 million Women's Health Program, and nearly half of the program's providers in Texas are Planned Parenthood clinics. But the new law that went into effect earlier this month disqualified Planned Parenthood from participating in the program because some of its clinics provide abortions, even though no state or federal money can be used to pay for those abortions.


Perry wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this month accusing his administration of "mandating which health providers the state of Texas must use" in order to "continue to support abortion providers like Planned Parenthood." He vowed to continue the Women's Health Program in Texas without Planned Parenthood and without federal money, although he has yet to outline how his state will come up with money.

Below, a slideshow of the remaining GOP hopeful's views on women's health:

GOP Presidential Candidates On Women's Issues