Judge allows ban on funds to Planned Parenthood


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY


Posted on December 31, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 31 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Monday was a huge blow for Planned Parenthood in Texas. A judge upheld a law that bans organizations that support abortion rights from receiving state funds. It's a battle that's been playing out for weeks in the courtroom.

Planned Parenthood had asked for a restraining order that would allow it to continue receiving money from the state's Women's Health Program. The judge said no, so on Jan. 1, Texas will no longer fund clinics and doctors with ties to any group that provides abortions.

The non-profit says more than 48,000 women won't get the birth control and check-ups they need.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Ken Lambrecht issued a statement that says in part, "Regardless of what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients. Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need. We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women, their health, and their well-being."

“I am very concerned about these women not having access to care," said State Representative Donna Howard. She calls the judge’s ruling irresponsible.

“I do find it amazing that we are allowed as a government to make these kind of decisions that deny any Texan access to the kind of care that they should be getting,” Howard said.

When the new legislative session begins on Jan. 8, Howard plans to see what can be done to replace at least some of the funding.

“I am working behind the scenes with some of my colleagues, especially those on the Republican side to see if we can come up with some kind of a win-win,” she said.

In the meantime, federal funding for the Women's Health Program has been cut off. Texas will keep it running using state dollars.

Linda Edwards Gockel with Texas Health and Human Services issued this statement, which says, "We welcome Planned Parenthood's help in referring patients to providers in the new program. HHSC has sent three different notifications to clients who have gotten services at Planned Parenthood explaining how they could find a new provider."

Some anticipate there will be an additional 24,000 unplanned Texas pregnancies as a result of family planning and Women's Health Program cuts.