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Judge Denies Planned Parenthood's Request To Stay in Texas Women's Health Program

Judge Denies Planned Parenthood's Request To Stay in Texas Women's Health Program

January 14, 2013 — A Texas judge on Friday denied Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary injunction against a Texas law barring the organization from participating in the state's Women's Health Program because it provides abortions, Reuters reports (MacLaggan, Reuters, 1/11).

The case involves a Texas law that prohibits organizations affiliated with abortion providers from participating in WHP, which had been mostly funded by the federal government. After the state began enforcing the law last year, 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 request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Texas from excluding the group's clinics from the state program (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/11).

Friday's Ruling

Texas District Judge Stephen Yelenosky -- who in November issued a temporary ruling in Planned Parenthood's favor -- on Friday said it was unlikely Planned Parenthood would win at trial (Reuters, 1/11).

Yelensky wrote, "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."

Reaction

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) released a statement saying the ruling "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" (Kuo, CNN, 1/11).

Pete Schenkkan, an attorney representing Planned Parenthood, said, "We are disappointed in that ruling and are confident in the merits and so we have the ability to press on to trial and try to change [the judge's] mind" (Reuters, 1/11).

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, "Perry should not be able to decide which health centers a woman can go to for birth control, well-woman exams or cancer screenings." She added, "This case isn't about Planned Parenthood -- it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for basic care every day" (CNN, 1/11).