A judge in Texas approved on Monday a ban on the use of government funds for abortions cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood’s family planning programs for poor women as well.
Planned Parenthood, which advocates for abortion rights, filed a lawsuit to stop the defunding which will affect other health care programs, but in the meantime, the judge ordered the decision to stand.
The program provides preventive care to 110,000 poor women a year, and Planned Parenthood clinics are treating 48,000 of them. The decision will force thousands of women to find new state-approved doctors for their annual exams, cancer screenings and birth control. In seeking a temporary restraining order, Planned Parenthood wanted its patients to be able to see their current doctors until a final decision was made.
Republican lawmakers passed the ‘affiliate rule’ last year have argued that Texas is an anti-abortion state, and therefore should cut off funds to groups that support abortion rights. Planned Parenthood has brought three lawsuits over Texas' so-called ‘affiliate rule,’ claiming it violates the constitutional rights of doctors and patients while also contradicting existing state law.
Gov. Rick Perry, who vehemently opposes abortion, has pledged to do everything legally possible to shut down Planned Parenthood in Texas and welcomed the court's ruling.
Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said he brought the lawsuit on behalf of poor women who depend on its clinics. "It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women," Lambrecht said. "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."