A district judge ruled on Monday that Texas can legally cut Planned
Parenthood out of its new state-funded health program for women, which
launches on Tuesday.
The Texas Women's Health Program, which provides basic health care
and family planning services to low-income women, previously received
about 90 percent of its $35 million annual funding from the federal
government. When state legislators voted to cut Planned Parenthood out
of the program because some of its affiliates provide abortions, the
Department of Health and Human Services warned the state that if it
broke federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against a qualified
provider, it would no longer receive federal funding for the program.
Instead of reinstating Planned Parenthood funding, Gov. Rick Perry (R)
decided to start a new women's health program funded entirely by the
state so that it could continue to exclude Planned Parenthood from the
Planned Parenthood currently serves about half of the 130,000 women
in the Women's Health Program, and none of the Planned Parenthood
clinics that participate in the program offer abortions. Attorneys for
the family planning provider filed for a temporary restraining order
against the new rules so that it could continue to serve women through
the program until a final court ruling is issued in January.
Visiting Judge Gary Harger denied that request on Monday, ruling that
Texas's state-funded program can immediately exclude any contractor
that is affiliated with an abortion provider.
"We are pleased the court rejected Planned Parenthood's latest
attempt to skirt state law," Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott, said in a statement. "The Texas Attorney
General's office will continue to defend the Texas Legislature's
decision to prohibit abortion providers and their affiliates from
receiving taxpayer dollars through the Women's Health Program."
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas plans to remain open, despite the
funding setback. But many low-income women who participate in the
Women's Health Program will have to find a different provider as soon as
“It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics
jeopardize health care access for women,” said Ken S. Lambrecht,
president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “Regardless of
what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for our
patients. Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need.
We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women,
their health, and their well being.”
Just as a reminder to anyone who doesn't know (like Rick Perry apparently), federal money cannot go to abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest. It very rarely covers it in these cases either, but that's not the point. I'm skeptical of Rick Perry's attempt at health care. Hopefully he won't just dump a bunch of money into crisis pregnancy centers and call it a day. Let's hope this nonsense is brief. None of the Planned Parenthoods in question even provide abortions and abortion care only accounts for 3% of what Planned Parenthood does anyway.