Planned Parenthood Seeks to Extend Ban on Texas Funding Cuts
By Kelley Shannon - Nov 8, 2012 12:00 AM ET
Planned Parenthood is asking a Texas judge to extend an order blocking the state from cutting funding to its clinics because the organization provides abortion services.
Texas officials were blocked by an Oct. 26 temporary restraining order issued by Judge Amy Clark Meachum in Austin from eliminating public funds for the 49 Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that don’t provide abortions.
The state ban will cost Planned Parenthood about $13 million a year in government reimbursements, force it to close some health centers, and interfere with health care for low- income women, the group said in court filings. At today’s hearing, Planned Parenthood seeks a temporary injunction extending Meachum’s order blocking that regulation.
The Obama administration said it would withdraw U.S. funding for the Texas women’s health program after state lawmakers last year passed a regulation blocking participation by groups affiliated with elective-abortion providers.
Attorneys for the state have said in their court filings that the court lacks jurisdiction over Kyle Janek, executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which runs the women’s health program. Ninety percent of the Medicaid program’s funding comes from the federal government.
Planned Parenthood sued the commission and Janek last month after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans refused to hear a dispute in a related lawsuit.
If the federal funding is pulled, Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, and Janek have said they are prepared to pay for the program with state money, with other clinics replacing Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood asked yesterday that its federal lawsuit against the state be dismissed. If the state court rules in its favor, there would be no need for the federal court in Austin to decide claims based on the U.S. Constitution, Planned Parenthood said in a court filing.
The state court case is Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning and Preventative Health Services Inc. v. Texas Health & Human Services Commission, D-1-GN-12-003365, Judicial District Court of Travis County (Austin).
The federal case is Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County Texas v. Suehs, 12-00322, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin). The appeals court case is Planned Parenthood of Hidalgo County Texas v. Suehs, 12-50377, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).
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