After a federal appeals court rejected Planned Parenthood's challenge to a ban on government funding for the state's women's health clinics on Friday, Planned Parenthood immediately filed another lawsuit contesting the ban. In the new lawsuit, Planned Parenthood argues that the "Affiliate Ban Rule" is illegal on the grounds that the appeals court ruling has only been approved on the state level, yet requires federal approval according to Texas state law. Following Planned Parenthood's challenge, a Texas judge has issued a temporary restraining order which will remain in place until the court's November 8th hearing.
Pete Schenkkan, a Planned Parenthood attorney, argues the appeals court ruling is "invalid under state law and, most importantly, threatens the integrity of the program and harms women who rely on Planned Parenthood, the provider of choice for nearly half of the patients who receive basic, preventive health care in the Women's Health Program."
Although the state had planned to launch the new Texas Women's Health Program that excludes clinics like Planned Parenthood from participating, a Texas Health and Human Services Commission agency spokeswoman confirmed that the changes will not be implemented until the case is resolved in court. In the meantime, Planned Parenthood clinics and other abortion service providers will be allowed to continue participating in the program.
Planned Parenthood continues to emphasize the importance of being included in the Texas' Women's Health Program as it offers a wide range of health care services to 50,000 low income citizens in a state where one quarter of women are uninsured. A recent George Washington University study has found that Texas will be unable to make up for the loss of care by Planned Parenthood, which serves 40% of all low-income women who utilize the Women's Health Program.
Media Resources: Planned Parenthood 10/26/12; Texas Tribune 10/31/12
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