Judge confirms: Texas can defund Planned Parenthood
AUSTIN, January 14, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The state of Texas won a second victory in its battle against Planned Parenthood last week, when a state judge turned down a temporary injunction against a state law defunding the abortion giant. State District Judge Stephen Yelenosky ruled that state lawmakers were within their rights when they passed the Affiliate Ban Rule, barring any abortion provider from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP).
The judge, a Democrat based in Travis County, added that he believed Planned Parenthood would be defeated in the final ruling.
“This is a victory for women’s health in Texas!” said John Seago of Texas Right to Life. Planned Parenthood, he said, “is really only fighting for public funds, while trampling women’s health.”
Governor Rick Perry founded the TWHP after President Obama pulled federal funding – which accounted for 90 percent of the previous, $40 million Women's Health Program – because Texas had decided to withhold state funds from abortion providers. Gov. Perry responded by creating the new TWHP, funded entirely by the state.
One of the witnesses who gave some of the seven hours of testimony in the case was an underprivileged woman who later admitted she had been employed by Planned Parenthood in the past.
Former employees of the abortion giant may soon be an expanding class. Patricio Gonzales, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County, said without state funding he will have to close three of his four clinics. Last year, he closed four of his eight clinics and laid off half his employees.
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Gonzales added, "We have been able to refer some of them to other providers."
Kyle Janek, the executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, said the program will be happy to help women find a new provider who participates in the program. Although there has been some controversy over a published list of health care providers, state officials say they have more than enough capacity to handle the new patients.
District Judge Gary Harger denied a similar injunction on December 31, allowing the program to go forward on the first of the year.
Planned Parenthood's annual report revealed that it received $542.4 million from U.S. taxpayers in 2012, nearly half its funding. It also performed a record number of abortions.