Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Women’s Health Program because one of the state program's rules prevents clinics associated with Planned Parenthood from receiving funding if they perform abortions. Planned Parenthood argues that the rule violates state law.
Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit in state court on Friday, according to Reuters. Earlier, a federal appeals court had declined to revisit a decision that allowed the state of Texas to deny funding to any doctor or clinic associated with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood hopes that -- by filing not in federal court but in state court -- it can argue the rule violates Texas state law, Reuters reported. The argument goes that state law bars any rule that causes a loss in federal funding for the Texas Women’s Health Program.
Until now, the federal government has paid about 90 percent of the $39 million-a-year Medicaid-funded program's cost. After Texas Gov. Rick Perry enacted the rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it will withdraw the funding, beginning Oct. 31, the Associated Press reported.
According to the federal government, the rule that prevents funding of the clinics violates a woman’s right to choose her own doctor, the AP reported. Because the state had initially tied the program to federal funding, the rule that caused the loss of federal funding is illegal and should therefore be eliminated, Planned Parenthood argues.
However, Gov. Perry remains steadfast in support of the rule. “In Texas, we've chosen to protect innocent life," Reuters quoted the governor as saying. "We will keep fighting for life, and we will ultimately prevail.”
Although Planned Parenthood does provide abortions, its clinics affiliated with the Texas Women’s Health Program do not perform abortions, but they are nonetheless being punished because they are affiliated with an abortion provider, Planned Parenthood claims. Nearly 46 percent of women in the health-care program received treatment from a clinic associated with Planned Parenthood, AP reported.
According to Dr. Kyle Janek, Texas' health and human services executive commissioner, the state would kill its Women’s Health Program if Planned Parenthood were successful in overturning the rule.