Updated 10/25/2012 07:14 PM
Court refuses to consider Planned Parenthood appeal
Texas received the go-ahead to cut funding to Planned Parenthood Thursday.
The 5th Circuit Court of appeals refused to reconsider a lower court's ruling that the state can determine which providers receive funding.
At issue is a state law banning taxpayer money from going to abortion affiliates, even if the clinics themselves don't actually perform abortions. By excluding those providers, the state lost $40 million in federal funding to the Medicaid Women's Health Program. Planned Parenthood was the biggest recipient of those funds.
Earlier this year, a lower court lifted an injunction, allowing the state to move ahead with its plans to defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood had requested the full court of appeals consider their motion. Thursday's ruling from the three-judge panel denied that request, with no explanation.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a separate lawsuit. He argues the federal government can't tell the state how to distribute the money.
In the meantime, the state is moving forward with it's own version of the program, which provides family planning and health services to more than 130,000 low income women.
Gov. Rick Perry applauded Thursday's ruling. He issued this statement:
“Today’s ruling affirms yet again that in Texas the Women’s Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion. In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice.”
Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek, meanwhile, says the state has increased the number of doctors and clinics in the program to care for women who need to find new health care providers.
He issued this statement:
“The 5th Circuit ruling aligns the Medicaid Women’s Health Program with state law. We’ve increased the number of doctors and clinics in the program, and we’ll be ready to help any woman who needs to find a new provider.
This ruling makes it clear that we can enforce state law and get federal funding for the Women’s Health Program, and we’re going to push for that.”