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KUT News Staff
Texas to 'Immediately' Cut Off Women's Health Program Funds to Planned Parenthood (Updated)
Update: 1:25 p.m.:
Planned Parenthood isn't giving up the legal fight over whether the state can ban its clinics from the Women's Health Program.
In a lawsuit filed today in state court, Planned Parenthood claims the “Affiliate Ban Rule” that bars its clinics from the program is "invalid" under state law.
Original Story: 6:43 a.m.:
Governor Rick Perry says the state is moving to immediately to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood.
The announcement came after a federal appeals court said Thursday it will not reconsider a decision that says Texas can withhold funds under the Women’s Health Program.
"[The] 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," Governor Rick Perry says.
Texas lawmakers are enforcing a rule that money from the program can’t go to clinics affiliated with abortion providers.
The Women’s Health Program provides basic screenings and other health services for 130,000 low-income Texas women. Planned Parenthood has been the largest provider under the program.
"This case has never been about Planned Parenthood — it's about the Texas women who turn to us everyday. Politics should never come between a woman and her health care," Kenneth Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, says.
The front page of the organization's website says clinics are currently seeing WHP patients. Even if that changes soon, Planned Parenthood says it will continue to serve women.
“Planned Parenthood has been in Texas for more than 75 years, and we're not going anywhere," Lambrecht says. "We are here for the patients who rely on us and we will continue to evaluate every possible option to protect the health of our patients."