Defunding could close three Oklahoma Planned Parenthood facilities
OKLAHOMA CITY, January 2, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Oklahoma had the right to deny Planned Parenthood nearly half-a-million dollars in state contracts because of the abortion provider’s “persistent unresponsiveness” to state queries for routine information, a federal judge has ruled.
The decision means Planned Parenthood will have to close three clinics in the Tulsa area, according to the organization’s spokesperson. State funding ended on the first of the year.
Oklahoma’s State Department of Health ended its 18-year-long relationship over poor performance, not abortion politics, according to the agency.
The department decided last September that Planned Parenthood would no longer distribute vouchers for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
Planned Parenthood had a higher overhead than other distributors, the health department noted.
It also handled fewer clients than other outlets and regularly refused to provide the state with information to explain the discrepancies.
The state paid the three clinics $454,000 last year.
Planned Parenthood sued, arguing the offenses did not justify the state’s decision to withhold its funds.
“But a routine, solvable problem can become a justifiable basis for strong action when it is compounded by persistent unresponsiveness in addressing the challenge,” wrote U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot of the Western District of Oklahoma in his decision.
His ruling was delivered on Christmas Eve.
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Fully half of the state’s newborns are enrolled in WIC.
Oklahoma Planned Parenthood clinics refer women to abortion providers and dispense the “morning-after” pill, a medical abortifacient.
The state ranks among the most conservative in the nation. Barack Obama did not carry a single of its 77 counties in 2008 or 2012.
Pro-life activist Randall Terry beat Obama in 14 counties in the 2012 Democratic primaries.