By Corrie MacLaggan
AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 21 (Reuters) - A judge on Friday denied a
request by Texas for an order requiring the federal government
to continue providing money for a state health program for
U.S. District Judge Walter Smith in Waco, Texas, denied the
state's motion for a preliminary injunction that would have
prevented the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
from cutting off Medicaid money for the Women's Health Program.
The federal government pays for most of the cost of the
$40-million-a year-program but has told Texas that it will stop
at the end of the year because a state decision to exclude
Planned Parenthood from the program violates federal law.
Texas decided to enforce a state law that had been on the
books for several years barring funding for abortion providers
The program, which does not pay for abortions, provides care
such as breast and cervical cancer screenings and birth control,
and Planned Parenthood says it serves nearly half the 115,000
Texas women who participate.
The state plans to launch a nearly identical program using
only state money.
"Today's decision doesn't change our plans," said Stephanie
Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services
Commission. "We'll move forward with launching the state program
on Jan. 1."
She added: "Our goal remains the same. We're going to
continue providing women with family planning services and
enforce state law."
But Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood
of Greater Texas, said Texas has embarked on a political crusade
that has cost Texas women and taxpayers.
"There is no sound reason Texas should jeopardize this
important program by cutting off access to the health care
provider relied on by nearly half of the women receiving basic,
preventive health care through the program," Lambrecht said in a
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