Planned Parenthood Sues Texas After State Blocks Organization From Women’s Health Program Funding

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed a federal lawsuit against the state to block their exclusion from participating in the Women’s Health Program. Texas officials cut off the WHP funding to Planned Parenthood after approving a rule that prevents organizations “affiliated” with an abortion provider from being a part of the Medicaid program. The lawsuit asks the court for an injunction to stop the enforcement of the rule, which went into effect in March, so that Planned Parenthood clinics can stay in the program. The Texas Tribune reports:

Its filers argue the rule violates clinics’ rights by putting an “unconstitutional condition on their participation” in the Women’s Health Program. It also alleges that the Health and Human Services Commission, which is enforcing the rule, “overstepped its authority in adopting a rule that conflicts with the purpose of the laws that created the program.”

The health care program provided contraception and cancer screenings to low income women, and as a result of the state’s decision to ban Planned Parenthood’s participation, the federal government cut off the $30 million it provided for the the Women’s Health Program. None of the clinics that lost WHP funds offer abortions.

Even Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has defended Planned Parenthood — “we need to provide those services, absolutely,” she said — as state Republicans led the effort to defund the organization. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has said the state will replace the lost federal funds, which made up 90 percent of the program, so that Texas can continue the program without including Planned Parenthood, but has not explained how he plans to do it.