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Court: Texas Can Cut Off Funds for Planned Parenthood

Common Dreams staff

(photo: xnmeme / Flickr)

Texas can cut off funds to Planned Parenthood, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Chuck Lindell explains the ruling in the Austin Statesman:

The ruling overturned a preliminary injunction, issued in April by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel of Austin, that banned Texas from enforcing rules designed to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program [WHP]. Yeakel found that the regulations violated the organization's rights of free speech and association.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, sided with Texas late Tuesday — ruling that the state had the authority to prohibit Women's Health Program money from going to health care providers that promote abortion or affiliate with organizations that perform or promote abortions.

Following the announcement, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement, "This case has never been about Planned Parenthood — it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams."

“It is shocking that politics would get in the way of women receiving access to basic health care. Governor Perry has already thrown 160,000 women off of health care for partisan political reasons — now there will be more to come. Today’s ruling puts the health of an additional 52,000 women in jeopardy," stated Richards.

As for how the over 50,000 WHP women will replace the care they had received from Planned Parenthood, the situation looks grim, according to investigation done by RH Reality Check:

RH Reality Check set out to test the WHP's non-Planned Parenthood provider listings over the past week and found that while initial searches of turn up what appear to be hundreds of available providers, many of them don't provide any kind of contraceptive care, don't take Medicaid Women's Health Program clients, or are simply misleading duplicate listings.

We asked a Texas Planned Parenthood representative what area of Texas the group thought would suffer most if it could no longer participate in the WHP. The results were dismal: based on their research, nearly 80 percent of WHP clients get their care from family planning clinics, and they turned over a list of 25 cities that have no family planning clinics other than Planned Parenthood that serve WHP clients. The top four results--Edinburg, McAllen, San Juan and Weslaco, Texas—are all located near the Texas-Mexico border, an area that has been hit especially hard by clinics closing.


Our take: if the State of Texas wants to exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, they're going to need to go beyond technical support for their website to invest huge sums of money increasing access to care throughout the state, replicating the system they are seeking to eliminate.

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