Federal Judge Blocks Texas Rule Excluding Planned Parenthood

The latest battle between Texas officials and Planned Parenthood has concluded today with a temporary victory for Planned Parenthood in federal court.

Planned Parenthood sued Texas a few weeks ago, after Texas officials wrote a rule that locked them out of the Women’s Health Program.

The program has nothing to do with abortion, but rather draws down federal funds to help poor women get pelvic and breast exams, and birth control.

Texas said the clinics weren’t eligible because their affiliate clinics provide abortion.

But a judge said Texas has to keep sharing the money with Planned Parenthood, at least for now.

Melaney Linton is president of the Gulf Coast chapter of Planned Parenthood:

“We’re very excited that the judge ruled in our favor, we’re very excited that the judge agreed with us that politics has no place in women’s health and that the program needs to continue in its current form.”

The preliminary injunction means Planned Parenthood will keep getting some money until the entire lawsuit is heard in federal court.

But the bigger picture remains uncertain.

The feds are getting ready to withdraw the federal funds because it says Texas can’t shut out Planned Parenthood.

Governor Perry has said he’d like to continue the program at the state level, but hasn’t identified how to pay for it.

And the state health commissioner has said that if he’s forced to include Planned Parenthood, he may have to shut down the entire program for everyone.

Rochelle Tafolla of Planned Parenthood said that would be short-sighted:

“And we are really hoping, we’ve got our fingers crossed, that the state will put Texas women and their health first and put aside any vendetta that they have against PP and really continue this life saving program for the women of Texas.”

Officials with the Texas Attorney General’s Office have now said they’ll immediately appeal the ruling.

From the KUHF Health and Science Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

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Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...