Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Texas Can Cut Women's Healthcare Funding

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans late Tuesday reversed U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel's temporary injunction requiring the State of Texas to continue Planned Parenthood funding pending an October trial on a challenge to Texas' law that cuts women's healthcare funding.

State officials want to cut funding to clinics that provide family planning and health services as part of the state's Women's Health Program because the Republican-led Texas Legislature passed a law banning funds to organizations linked to abortion providers. When the Texas Tribune asked Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), a supporter of the family planning cuts, if this was a war on birth control, he said: “Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything.”

Family planning clinics are routinely referred to by many Republican lawmakers across the U.S. as “abortion clinics” because many social conservative Republicans say contraceptive use is the same as abortion. Last April, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his team of state lawyers asked the federal appeals court to rescind U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel's temporary injunction that required the state to continue funding Planned Parenthood. In his request for an emergency injunction, Abbott analogized Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization.

Planned Parenthood provides services like cancer screenings – but not abortions – to about half of the 130,000 low-income Texas women enrolled in the program, which is designed to provide services to women who might not otherwise qualify for Medicaid.

The appeals court's decision means Texas is now free to impose the women's healthcare funding ban. In response to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Ken Lambrecht, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of North Texas, said:

“It is incredibly disappointing that, here in Texas, once again it appears that politics are getting in the way of women receiving access to basic health care. Today’s ruling will allow the state to deny low-income, uninsured Texas women health care from their most trusted provider—Planned Parenthood.

Governor Perry and the Texas legislative leadership have already denied affordable health care access to 160,000 women for political reasons — now there will be more to come. The state’s ongoing efforts jeopardize the health of tens of thousands of Texas women.

This case has never been about Planned Parenthood — it's about the women who rely on us for basic health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and annual exams. We are here for the health & safety Texas women.

For more than 75 years, women and families in Texas have trusted Planned Parenthood for high-quality, affordable health care and education. Our doors are open today and they'll be open tomorrow. We won't let politics interfere with access to the basic healthcare that women rely upon at Planned Parenthood health centers in Central and North Texas to stay healthy.”
More: Women's Health Care Suffers in Texas As Republicans Slash Funding.

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