Judge hearing Planned Parenthood injunction request
Planned Parenthood is hoping a judge will extend a temporary restraining order banning the state from excluding its clinics from the Women's Health Program.
The organization argues federal law prohibits such discrimination against health care providers. District Judge Amy Clark Meachum initially issued a temporary restraining order two weeks ago. Attorneys are back in court Thursday to ask for an extension, ensuring their clinics are funded throughout the court proceedings.
At the heart of the issue is a move by the Texas Legislature in 2011 to further clarify the law governing the Medicaid Women's Health Program. The Republican-led legislature moved to exclude organizations affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state subsidies, even if those clinics do not actually perform abortions. By excluding those providers, the state stands to lose $40 million in federal funding on Dec. 31.
The state, meanwhile, says it is prepared to move forward with its own 100 percent, state-funded Texas Women's Health Program. That program was scheduled to launch on Nov. 1, but was postponed due to the temporary restraining order.
Gov. Perry has said the result of Thursday's hearing will give the state a better idea how to move forward. He has promised the state will shut down the health care program altogether, if the court rules the state must include Planned Parenthood.
Thursday's hearing was initially expected to be over by about noon. Instead, the judge called for a recess until 1:15 p.m.
We are expecting to hear from Gov. Perry this afternoon. He already released this statement, calling on Planned Parenthood to abandon its case:
“Planned Parenthood has finally acknowledged what we have known from the very beginning – their constitutional challenge is flawed on its face. Venue shopping and courtroom sleight-of-hand in no way helps the women of Texas. We see their stalling tactic for what it is – yet another attempt to unashamedly defy the will of Texas voters and taxpayers.”