The battle between Planned Parenthood and the state of Texas continues. A federal appeals court in New Orleans yesterday handed a serious setback to Planned Parenthood in Texas. In August, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a lower federal court's injunction clearing the way for Texas to boot Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Women's Health Program (WHP) on free speech grounds.
Planned Parenthood had several options , and took advantage of one of them, filing for a rehearing en banc with the federal appeals court. Yesterday, the court refused Planned Parenthood's request. After the court ruling, Governor Perry announced that Texas would cease funding for the Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Planned Parenthood today countered by filing a lawsuit in state court, arguing that defunding the Planned Parenthood affiliates violates Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 32, which authorizes the WHP subject to approval from the federal government. If the federal government condemns Texas' aggressive stance toward Planned Parenthood – which, according to the Austin-American Statesman, it has, Texas would lose matching federal dollars, rendering the WHP inoperative. Over five years, Texas taxpayers would bear a cost of $200 million, according to Planned Parenthood.
In practical terms, that would cost Texas women access to programs providing cancer screenings, birth control, and testing for sexually transmitted infections.
According to the Statesman, Texas still intends to ask the federal government for money for the WHP (the federal government had previously provided 90% of the program's funding), citing the federal appeals court's stance that Texas' actions are constitutional, despite previous declarations by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Texas' actions were inconsistent with federal law.