Planned Parenthood Returns to Court Over Texas Women's Health Program

January 11, 2013 — A federal judge on Friday is scheduled to hear the latest arguments from Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) about whether the organization should be allowed to participate in the state's Women's Health Program, Bloomberg reports (Harris/Shannon, Bloomberg, 1/11).

Texas last year decided to start enforcing a state law that prohibits organizations affiliated with abortion providers from participating in the program, which had been mostly funded by the federal government. However, the federal government told Texas officials it would end the funding because of the state's move to exclude certain providers.

In response, Texas said it would launch its own WHP, which it did on Jan. 1. Earlier this month, a judge denied Planned Parenthood's attempt for a temporary restraining order to prevent Texas from excluding the group's clinics from the state program (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/3).

Friday's Hearing

In its latest attempt to fight the so-called affiliate rule, PPGT will ask Judge Stephen Yelenosky to issue a temporary injunction that would allow the organization to continue providing health care services to 48,000 low-income WHP participants who receive services through Planned Parenthood (Weber, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/11). Six PPGT affiliates are plaintiffs in the case (Bloomberg, 1/11).

Sarah Wheat, vice president of community affairs for PPGT, said, "This is not about Planned Parenthood; it's about access to these vital [health] services" (Aaronson, Texas Tribune, 1/11).