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Appeals Court Rejects Request to Reconsider Texas Law on Women's Health Program

Appeals Court Rejects Request to Reconsider Texas Law on Women's Health Program

October 26, 2012 — A federal appeals court on Thursday declined to reconsider a ruling that allowed Texas to exclude affiliates of abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, from its Women's Health Program, Reuters reports.

Gov. Rick Perry (R) in a statement after the decision said the state would immediately stop payments to WHP participants that are affiliated with abortion providers. The federal government, which had covered 90% of the cost of the program, is ending the funding because of the state's decision to exclude qualified providers.

The state on Nov. 1 will begin funding WHP itself. It previously announced it would end the program completely if the court ordered Planned Parenthood to participate (MacLaggan, Reuters, 10/25). None of the 49 clinics excluded from the program provide abortion services.

Court Decisions

In August, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a temporary injunction that had been blocking Texas from implementing the law. Planned Parenthood asked the full court to review the decision.

The court's one-page order offered no explanation as to why the judges decided to decline Planned Parenthood's request.

Planned Parenthood's Response

Kenneth Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, in a statement said, "This case has never been about Planned Parenthood -- it's about the Texas women who turn to us every day," adding, "Politics should never come between a woman and her health care, but in this decision, which conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, it appears it has" (Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/26).

Lambrecht said PPGT is evaluating its options for how to proceed. The case could proceed to trial in U.S. District Court in Austin, where a trial previously was postponed while the appeals court considered the matter. PPGT also could appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court (Reuters, 10/25).