The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that Texas can now enforce a law banning abortion businesses and their affiliates from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program, a taxpayer-funded healthcare program that provides birth control and preventative care to low-income women.
Since the program began in 2005, Planned Parenthood — America’s largest abortion committer — has disproportionately consumed 40 percent of the program’s budget. Although the rule banning abortion businesses has been part of the Women’s Health Program from the very beginning, it had not been enforced until 2011 when state lawmakers reaffirmed their commitment to keeping tax dollars out of the abortion industry during the 82nd legislative session.
In response, President Obama withdrew all federal support for the program, and Planned Parenthood sued the state of Texas. Judge Lee Yeakel blocked the law from going into effect, yet Yeakel’s ruling was appealed by Attorney General Greg Abbott, and today the Fifth Circuit Court removed the block.
Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, responded to the positive ruling:
“We're thrilled the Fifth Circuit affirmed the states' right to keep taxpayer dollars out of the abortion industry because the citizens of Texas are Pro-Life and don't want to subsidize the abortion industry.
“This debate is about true women's health, and abortion is not health care.
“We should help low-income women, but funneling them to abortion clinics does not help. Instead, there are more than 4,000 legitimate healthcare agencies that provide a wide range of services that are not affiliated with abortion providers.”
These 4,000 providers serve both urban and rural patients, while Planned Parenthood's 64 facilities are concentrated only in the metro areas and the populous regions along the Texas-Mexico border. Although President Obama has removed federal support for the program, Governor Perry has said that he is committed to keeping the program running on state funds.