Judge Denies Planned Parenthood Effort To Be In Texas Women's Health Program

By: CNN
By: CNN

(CNN) -- A Texas judge Friday denied Planned Parenthood's request to be included in the state's newly revamped women's health program.

Judge Stephen Yelenosky said he denied the organization's request for a temporary injunction because it was unlikely Planned Parenthood would win at trial, since federal funds are not at issue in the case.

"If, as plaintiffs argue, a successor program must be Medicaid-funded then the only legal remedy would be for this court to shut down the state-funded women's health program, not to order the inclusion of Planned Parenthood," Judge Yelenosky wrote in the ruling.

Texas lawmakers applauded the ruling.

"This is great news for Texas women and further proves that Planned Parenthood's case attempting to derail the Texas Women's Health Program lacks merit," Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.

He added that the injunction request was "nothing more than a desperate move by an organization more concerned with obtaining taxpayer money than with helping women get care. With this ruling, our state can continue caring for Texas women,"

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he was pleased the agency would not "skirt" the law.

"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," Abbott's communications director, Lauren Bean, said.

A state law that went into effect with the new year requires the state to fully fund women's health clinics with the exception of those that are affiliated with abortion providers. With that new law, Texas is no longer eligible for federal funding for women's health and, therefore, Planned Parenthood and other such establishments in the state will no longer be able to receive federal funding.

Previously, such organizations in Texas obtained 90% of their money through the Social Security Administration and other federal funding.

Late last month, a Texas judge denied the group's request for a temporary restraining order that would have extended the organization's ability to participate.

Planned Parenthood and fellow plaintiff Marcela Balquinta of McAllen, Texas, filed the request for a temporary restraining order seeking exclusion from the new law, arguing the organization provides preventative women's health care not associated with abortions to nearly 50,000 Texas enrollees annually.

The organization says more than 90% of the services its clinics provide are for preventative measures aimed towards cancer screenings, birth control and testing for diseases.

"Governor Rick Perry should not be able to decide which health centers a woman can go to for birth control, well-woman exams or cancer screenings," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said.

"This case isn't about Planned Parenthood — it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for basic care every day. Ending funding for birth control, annual exams, or cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood would hurt the millions of American women and families that rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for health care," Richards added.

"That is why women and men in Texas and across the country strongly oppose attempts to deny funding to Planned Parenthood health centers, and will fight with us to ensure Planned Parenthood health center doors across America are open today and open tomorrow."

Late last month, a Texas judge denied the group's request for a temporary restraining order that would have extended the organization's ability to participate.


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