AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled
on Tuesday that Texas can cut off funding to affiliates of
Planned Parenthood for a state women's health program because
the network of clinics provides abortions.
The decision is a blow to Planned Parenthood, which is the
nation's largest abortion provider and has been under attack
from conservatives across the country. Some conservatives oppose
any state government money going to support abortions.
Planned Parenthood denies the money to some of its
affiliated clinics supports abortions and said it was for cancer
screenings, birth control, and well-woman examinations, which
focus on health histories and reproductive healthcare.
Texas is the most populous of a number of states with
Republican majorities that have mounted a campaign to cut off
funding to Planned Parenthood. A group of Planned Parenthood
clinics earlier this year filed a federal lawsuit to stop Texas
from cutting off the funding.
The ruling on Tuesday reversed a lower court decision that
had temporarily allowed Planned Parenthood to continue receiving
funding from the Texas program.
After the appeals court decision was announced, Texas said
it would immediately stop providing money to Planned Parenthood
under the Women's Health Program, which provides services to
"We appreciate the court's ruling and will move to enforce
state law banning abortion providers and affiliates from the
Women's Health Program as quickly as possible," Texas Health and
Human Services Commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.
Planned Parenthood said that the decision puts the health of
some 52,000 Texas women in jeopardy. The state program covers
more than 100,000 women and Planned Parenthood has said the
eight clinics suing Texas stand to lose $13 million a year.
"We are evaluating every possible option to protect women's
health in Texas," Planned Parenthood Action Fund president
Cecile Richards said in a statement.
The dispute erupted after Texas said that it would enforce a
law that had been on the books for several years barring funding
for abortion providers and affiliates.
The battle has also pitted Republican-dominated Texas state
government against the administration of Democratic President
Barack Obama because 90 percent of the funding for the Texas
health program comes from the federal government.
The Obama administration has said it will not renew federal
funding for the Texas program because the state was violating
federal law by restricting the freedom to choose health
But Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, said in a
statement on Tuesday that the state would continue to run the
program despite the federal government decision not to renew
(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan)
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook